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What Comes After Dinner -- poetry by Abigail E. Calimaran

Your parents come over for dinner at my parents’ house.

Mama’s been working in the kitchen all day

‘cause Jenny is her friend,

but Jenny is her enemy. (Frenemy?)

Southern women are full of contradictions.

Then again, maybe all women are.

Your father rings the doorbell.

You look at me like you want to devour me.

I say, Mama made that spinach pie you like so much

in the hopes that you won’t eat me alive.

The parents start drinking after appetizers.

We sneak away upstairs, puppy love,

You’re holding my hand, puppy love.

I’m five years old and playing with my dolls:

American Girl, expensive. I’ve always had the

taste for it, but you like the taste of cheap beer

and vodka soda. Help me, help me God.

You taste like it and I hate it. But God, how I love you.

Just don’t lick the inside of my mouth.

I’m fifteen on this very stairwell. You kiss me

and it’s messy. First kiss, second kiss,

it never gets any less messy. I hate mess.

You know this. But God, how I love you.

Sometimes, I feel you inside of me,

making a mess out of me.

I try to push you out but I can’t.

Dinner at my parents’ house. Dinner, dinner,

I feel you inside of me like the food I’ve always hated,

but you know this. You know how broken I am.

I hate mess, and I hate myself, and I

love you. It’s a mess, puppy love.

We’ve pissed all over the carpet floor.


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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