By Amy Bohlman

It was summer then and only the branded birch tree knew why they scratched their names into its slippery bark then promptly peeled off the evidence. The river ran by, all rush and rhythm. She recovered with warm wet breaths, stayed hidden under the bridge until he was far enough away.

She counted the days on her fingers until next time. His wife was back from visiting her sister. He needed three nights in and then he’d return to the coffee shop, he said. He would stay until closing. They would take another walk.

She waited and winter came instead. She leaned over the rail, looking down at their tree in its thick white sleeves. The footbridge was deserted, but the snow fell from the sky with vigor, as if trying to hide her. She watched the chunks of ice and choppy waves, still counting, cursing all the days.


Amy Bohlman is a Minnesota-based writer in love with the short form. Her work has been published in Ellipsis Zine, Five Minutes, and her Tiny Love Story was published last year in The New York Times. Find her at and on Instagram @ashortgirlwrites.