Grady Chambers
Saint End

The weekend in Rehoboth Beach

they won a necklace as a penny prize


at a boardwalk arcade, a fragile plastic heart

that read “Best Friend” and snapped in half


to become two necklaces

that brought together formed a whole.


They split it on a windy day,

standing on the pier, the ocean heaving


beneath their feet:

Her half read, “Be / Fri.”


His half read, “St / End,”

like an abbreviation for Saint End.


They saw the same things,

and often they saw the same things differently,


so she might say, “It’s a beautiful sound

the trees are making,” whereas he would complain


of the noise of the wind.

They wore the halves


when one of them traveled. They wore them

for protection. They wore them


when things were bad

to remind themselves


they wouldn’t always be. “Be Fri,” she would say,

to catch his attention. “Saint End,” he’d reply,


before turning back to his book.


Sitting beside each other on the couch one night,

the split plastic resting


on their chests, they argued over

the heart’s sharp edge,


its shape, he said, “like something teeth

had bitten into,” though she was remembering


Rehoboth, leaving him sleeping

in the early morning, walking out alone,


turning at the long pier’s end

to look back


at their life: the lights

of porches at 5:00 AM,


the long jagged coastline

splitting the ocean.


Found In Volume 51, No. 05
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  • Grady Chambers
Grady Chambers
About the Author

Grady Chambers is the author of NORTH AMERICAN STADIUMS (Milkweed Editions, 2018), selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the 2018 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His poems and stories can be found in The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Sun, Kenyon Review Online, Joyland, Image, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.