Letter to an Ex

by Robert Gould

One day I saw a couple holding hands.
Were it not for his grasp, she would have slipped
on a path encrusted with winter’s sand.
My respect for this stranger slowly dipped

as I thought of all you preached to me
each night in between puffs of something foul
about the dangers of dependency.
I used to hang on every vowel.

For the longest time, I pitied this girl.
I thought of the faith she placed in his care.
It plucked at my nerves, and drove my toes to curl
to think she had the strength to dare,

to trust someone enough to take their hand.
It was a cold day in a lonely town,
and if her heels gave way, she knew this man
would ensure she’d never hit the ground.