Irreconcilable Differences


Who gets the dog? The geriatric dog

We adopted—purely by accident—

Twelve summers ago

At that campsite just outside

That crappy little town

With only one gas station

We got stuck in overnight

Because the pump ran out of gas.

It RAN out of GAS.

(The gas station did.)

Do you remember that?

We slept in the car

And listened to the coyotes howl

Waiting for a cheap slasher flick to happen.

The longest night ever.

Terrifying, in an embarrassing way.

Anyway, who gets the dog?


Who takes the couches?

The beige ones, that in all honesty,

Weren’t even beige

More a hideous, sickly sort of brown

Or, brownish-green, actually.

You called them “puce”

Because you didn’t know better

And really, nobody knows

What f@#king color puce is, anyway

So I didn’t correct you.

But well, they were ugly

And still are, even more so

Because of the stains.

So who takes them? The couches, I mean.


And who wants the memories?

The good ones, the sad ones,

Particularly the ones that make

My fists ball up with unspent rage

Because it was right there

All along—the truth.

I was so stupid not to see it

Right there in front of me

Like those damn tax returns

That never got filed because

You left them on the kitchen table

And expected me to do it.

But I thought you’d done it and

That was the first time

We got audited.

That’s a memory I’d like to return

Or file away

A permanent mental deduction

With no future penalties.

Those memories, you can have.


How about the pictures?

The ones we used to cherish

And agonize over maybe losing

So we bought that portable hard drive

To immortalize our love

In a permanent, digital sense.

But now it’s just a cold, plastic brick

A high-tech paperweight

I’ll never plug in, ever again.

Because, no matter how you spin it

It’s an emotional rabbit hole

A terabyte of memory

Full of more memories

We can’t hope to divide

Evenly, or fairly

Or even safely.

How do they even quantify that, anyway?

How is it possible that pictures of our wedding

Take up just as much disk space as

Instagram shots of your lunch at Chipotle?

In all honesty, the pictures

Are more punishment than prize.

Why don’t I flip you for them?


Loser takes the dog

And the ugly furniture

The photos on the hard drive

We bought from Amazon

Using your frequent flier

Reward points.

And I’ll keep the memories

Since I have no other option

And we’ll call it even.

Or, at the very least,

We’ll call it over

And go our separate ways

Not happy, per se

But secure in the knowledge

That we’re both at a loss.

So nobody wins.

At least, that’s something.