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Quintessentially -- poetry by Abigail E. Calimaran

There is


on my polyester dress and


like dry ice

on my wrists.

It’s the afternoon after the party,

And now all we want to do is die.

Somewhere in suburbia,

an Ostrich

buries her head in the sand.

I have never stumbled home at 4 a.m.

but I always think I’m blundering,

bulldozing my way to you

or through you.

Which reminds me of

the Waffle House bathroom

Which reminds me of

the time I laughed against your lips and

puked into your mouth.

I’m not a pretty drunk.

At 4:17 a.m.

I finally open the voicemail you left

in a moment of weakness I didn’t know you were capable of.

I play it thrice,

then once in slow motion,

then once at 2x speed.

It has become my favorite routine.

I used to curse your cowardice but now I’m glad

that you’re too scared to ask

for the sweatshirt you left in my car

the first time you lost control.

I used to think you were beautiful.

I’m at a Whole Foods after dark,

too broke to buy a carton of raspberries.

The blueberries are cheaper,

but I can’t even look at them without remembering

the time you pinned me to a couch

and force-fed me blueberries

until I cried.

If we ever have a do-over,

I’ll make sure we have a safe word this time:

(Something to do differently

instead of fighting the same fights


blueberry, maybe, or birthday cake

to remind us of candles and

to remind us of fire –

how we didn’t just cross the boundaries;

we burned them.

Now, I’m all-or-nothing,

and the absence of a happy medium,

the absence of a stop sign,

makes me think of absence –

missing chances &

missing you.


Abigail E. Calimaran is a full-time senior and part-time pre-K gymnastics teacher who, when she is not being those things, crochets while listening to Jane Austen audiobooks, consumes nearly-lethal amounts of caffeine, and dances alone to ABBA in her room. She fantasizes about having her poetry published somewhere before she goes off to college in August or September (where, she has no idea, but she harbors dreams of escaping suburban Mississippi and unleashing her passion for learning and serving her community in the big city scene).

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