Things I said to indicate my unhappiness, in approximate chronological order

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Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash

Let’s work on our marriage.
Doesn’t every garden need tending?
We have no connection. I don’t feel loved.
I promise if you let me know you appreciate me,
You will see the benefit in the way we get along.
You could be nicer to me. I wish you were nicer to me.
I’m done trying — I need you to step up and make an effort.
Things aren’t working: Our marriage isn’t a priority for you.
I’d like to be included in the group of people you say you love.
It really hurts that I’m not. Can you try to understand that? Please?
The kids will be out of the house soon. We need to focus on “us” now.
I’d like you to go to counseling, and then we could both go to counseling.
I want to feel safe — like someone has my back — and I’ve never felt that way.
I feel like you don’t think our marriage has any value. You’re throwing it away.
I feel like you’re throwing me away. I don’t need a miracle, just a little love.
You’re going to have to make an effort — let me know you care about me.
If this is an example of your effort to communicate, you’re scaring me.
I know that I am going to feel abandoned — I already feel abandoned.
How will our marriage survive when you’re 3000 miles away?
You’re going to have to try harder — you’re killing me, here.
You’re giving me nothing; give me something. Please.
Do you even want to be married to me?
It really doesn’t seem like you do.
Please, tell me I’m wrong.
If you can’t love me,
Let me go. …

A Girl’s Best Friend

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Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

With trepidation,
He steps onto the bed,
Curls up against me.
I untangle an arm from
Beneath my pile of quilts,
Wrap it around his furry chest,
Pull him close.
Sudden warmth,
And then the cold pushes
Against my back from
The naked cabin wall.

A Poem of Place

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Photo by Alex Bertha on Unsplash

Five hours, twenty-five minutes belies

The hardships of past travelers.

Dead Mule Flats, Shoestring Falls,

Post Office Creek. These places tell a story.

Caution: Curvy Road Ahead, then

Rough Road Ahead. Pick your poison.

Fish Creek? There is always a Fish Creek.

First, Fire Creek, then, Cool Water Creek,

Finally, Deadman Creek. No one left to tell the tale.

Shall I dine at Tick Creek or Glade Creek?

Rest my horses at Handy Creek or Hellgate Creek?

STOP — one land road ahead.

Wild Goose Campground, Closed.

Meet me of an evening at Two Shadows Creek,

Or of a morning at Swan Creek.

And then you are over the Pass.


Come Again.

Inhabiting Love and Courage

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Photo by Mark Timberlake on Unsplash

“She told me once, when we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the books are like a roof and four walls. A house. She, more than anything else in the world, loved the moment when you finished a book and the story keeps playing like the most vivid dream, in your head.” Thus starts the remarkably charming movie, “The Bookshop,” from the novel by British author Penelope Fitzgerald. I loved everything about this movie.

Set in 1950’s England, the film stars Emily Mortimer, who wears Wellingtons with a dress as well as any actress working today. An intrepid entrepreneur, widow Florence Green sets out to achieve her life’s passion: opening a bookshop in a conservative seaside village. She is assisted by several likable residents, the reclusive intellectual Mr. Brundish, played sensitively by Bill Nighy, and a quirky, underage shop girl, played by the talented actress who plays the young “Elizabeth” in “The Crown.” …

A Photo Essay

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End of summer, Gold Creek, Montana, up Highway 2 along the Blackfoot River

I was born an April baby, but something must have happened when I hit the six-month mark. On a crisp, October day, someone popped me into a pile of fallen leaves. Or, I rode in my older brother’s arms in the backseat of our blue Buick, through the hills of Appalachia, mesmerized by yellows, oranges, and reds. Now that I’m all grown up, I’m not a fan of pumpkin spice lattes, but apple cider is my beverage of choice. I’m a fall girl and always have been. Goldenrod, rust, taupe, and smoky green heathers that reflect the landscape in autumn are the colors that comfort me. …

A Poem of Remembering

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Photo by Michel Bosma on Unsplash

Through the squeaky gate with tight hinges we walk, and there it is — a pear tree drooping with fragrant white flowers made heavy by raindrops in late April, and we know this all will be ours. We’ll paint the house blue.

Through the years it grows tall and its boughs are heavy with golden fruit, which falls to the ground into October, drawing in yellow jackets in such numbers that even the dog learns to avoid the sweet, decaying fruit.

The following spring is sweet and mild and the rain does not wash away the blossoms too soon. The pear tree bears a galaxy of small, hard fruits that cling to the branches through the dry heat of summer. …

A Poem in Motion

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Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

Here come the women

Of the Little Clearwater:

Sally Ann,



Here comes Dewey Saddle Road,

Then Poor Farm Road,


Fiddle Creek.

I think this is right:

He hangs onto unhappiness

Tight as a tick.

Nothing is resolved,

But I’m closer to my bed.

Not exactly home,

But where I lay my head.

It may be as simple as focusing your energy on what you want — not on what you’ve left behind

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Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

You leave because you reach the point of no longer staying. It gradually, or suddenly, appears to you that life is much larger than what lies between two people, and you know that this is true. As soon as you understand this, you will have all the courage you need. It’s as if the Universe says, “Go ahead. Take whatever you need. Time? Space? Focus? Be as selfish as you need to be right now.”

Starting over in your fifties often means you’ve ended a long relationship or career path, or both. For some of you who have endured a terrible loss, it means an enormous expenditure of will and courage in order to move forward. …

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Photo by Josiah Lewis on Unsplash

Sometimes I wake up and admire my perfect bed-hair,

As if I’ve just come from having a coiffure in a French salon.

Sometimes I wonder when I time-traveled to ancient Greece

To hang with my older sister Medusa, the one with better hair.

Sometimes I wake with the limbs of a twenty-something athlete.

Sometimes I wake up and wonder “how dare someone intrude

During the night and abscond with my left kneecap?”

At sixty, I can only breathe deeply of the warm New Mexico air

If I avoid eating eggs, and apparently, eggs are in every food I love.

Including flan, with the delicious caramel/coffee-flavored syrup.

And, mysteriously, red wine makes me bitchy. When did that happen?

Now, I’m limited to cheap pink wine with wimpy alcohol content,

If I’m to be reasonable with other human beings.

Thank God, I never get mad at the dog.

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Photo by Ash Goldsbrough on Unsplash

And It’s Only January

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Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

I’m a straight female over fifty in a city beloved by lesbians, which should up my odds, but still requires commitment and plain hard work to sort the potential gems from the rough and tumble stones of Montana’s finest.

There is the brilliant philosopher who lives in his past, and the photographer, who lives in his barn; the Napoleon who rules his small roost and wants to rule mine, and the man whose face says he’s already given up on life.

There’s the thespian who drinks too much and doesn’t remember our three-hour date, and there’s the one whose wife left him for a woman, like that plotline of “Friends” I watched as the snow piled up outside my window. …


Wendy Cohan

Exploring relationships, travel, the arts, and entertainment. Seeking literary representation. &

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