How to Win After Leaving by Lisa Baird

Delete the voicemail before the end. Win.

Burn the letter. Smear the ash into the sidewalk. Win.

No, save the letter for the restraining order. Lose. 

Decide against filing the police report. Cops are transphobic already. Lose.

File it after all. Feel worse. Lose.

Order pizza. Panic at the doorbell. Lose.

Forget to close the curtains the day he watches from across the street. Lose. 

Drink enough to pretend not to care that he stares in the gay bar. Win.

Pretend not to care so well you convince yourself. Win.

Tongue-kiss your friends on the dance floor. Win win win.

Find out that he’s fucking your new roommate. Lose. 

Get a different roommate. Win, sort of.

Get work in a location so remote that food and mail arrive via helicopter. Win. 

Fall in love with someone new. Win. Move to Manchester. Win.

Tell friends what happened. Win. Tell friends what happened. Lose.

Go three years without hearing from him. Win. Four years. Five. Seventeen.

Lisa Baird (she/her) is a queer writer and community acupuncturist living on Attawandaron/Chonnonton/Mississaugas of the New Credit territory (Guelph ON). Her poetry has appeared in various journals, has been shortlisted for the Room Magazine Poetry Contest and longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Her first book, Winter’s Cold Girls (Caitlin Press, 2019) was shortlisted for the 2020 Relit Award for poetry. Find her at and on Insta @eramosageese.