How to End a Marriage

By Jessica Martinez

Hate is an infertile woman
driving past a Babies “R” Us.

Past the women pushing baskets stuffed
with Babybjörns and pacifiers and bottles

and diapers and onesies and strollers.
Past the “Oh, when are you due?”

and “Do you know what you’re having?”
I know I’ve gained twenty pounds over

the past five years, because with every negative sign
I condemn my diet and indulge in Wendy’s spicy

chicken sandwiches and raspberry Slurpee’s from
the 7-Eleven across the street from our house;

the house we bought with an extra bedroom,
back when we only allowed positive thoughts inside.

Three years ago we made your niece an Easter basket.
We filled it with chocolate bunnies, the ones with the beady

blue eyes that never shut, and chicken-shaped Peeps.
When your niece heard our angry whispers

in your sister’s kitchen, about my empty womb,
she ran to her basket and pulled out a Peep.

She smiled as she pushed the soft yellow morsel into my hand
and said, “Baby chick. Baby chick.” Her smile outlined with chocolate.

The following Easter you were gone; your luggage secured
in the back seat of your car, the placenta of our marriage
mashed between my fingers.


Jessica Martinez has a degree in English Literature from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her work has appeared in Stephen F. Austin’s undergraduate journal, Humid, vol. 4 and 5, and online at Digital Papercut. Although she is from Pearland, Texas, she has never seen anything remotely close to a pear tree.