“Social Gathering (Shaken, Not Stirred)” (Summer 2016)

“At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again.  I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed,” —Brock Turner.


I ate chinese food off my diploma,

seated on the hood of my best friend’s Mustang

with her laughter and an ex-boyfriend,

who stared at me and insisted it was meant to be

—the three of us and chinese food.


When my friend was pulled home by her mother,

the ex and I

pointed our cars toward

someone’s boozy backyard bonfire.

He said he regretted breaking up with me

five years ago,

but by that time, I was too busy,

marveling at the fire through a whiskey bottle

and the fact that I’d pressed my lips

where seven others already had

and ten more would after I passed it on.

Maybe my lips were still there when it left my hands, still sharing whiskey

with people who were ember and shadow in the light of the fire,

who I wouldn’t meet then—

as they danced around the flames,

burning themselves on liquor

as tribute to the gods of graduation

—or ever.


When the fire puttered into crushed cans and empty bottles,

I wrapped my tongue around my sip of whiskey,

took my stomachful of unmentioned goodbyes,

and went home to my warm bed,

kicking my shoes off at the door

and slipping off my cardigan.

It fell to the floor,

reeking of campfires and already wrinkling.


It’s been a year since that night—

long enough for the whiskey to burn out

and for my taste buds to forget it ever existed there.

Long enough

for that night to become a crumbling photograph

tossed haphazardly on a cluttered desk,

insignificant, forgotten,

and uneventful—

influenced neither by alcohol

nor chinese food.

Published in the University of Akron’s Rubbertop and the University of Mount Union’s Calliope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s