Poetry & Prose

House Party, Halloween

My rings clink against my glass,
pink-tinted and cool to the touch.
I’m sipping honey, whiskey, and apple
cider, cross-legged on the carpet, glancing
around with an easy grin, enjoying
the smiles of strangers in my home.
That familiar warmth fills me—flushed face
to fingertips
to feet. I release
my long legs from their bind
and return to my room.

The sounds of socialization
filter through the slits of my door.
Something stirs the soul of my string lights
—they flicker—I blink—and now,
I’m curled up with my grief,
eyes closed against a reminder
of a plane crash’s cruelty.

The backs of my eyelids come alive,
a movie screen of memories.
Her, swaying in time to Scarlet Begonias
asking us—sixteen and stupid—
to name the band and lead singer.
A clue: rhymes with Cherry Garcia.
Her, giddy as a ladybug’s wings flutter
to rest on her palm. No one knew why
she loved them so much—now we have mugs
and tattoos and earrings.
Me, stupefied in the dorm stairwell
that day she died,
my tear-blurred vision
fixating on the flickering lightbulb.

Pints of Cherry Garcia,
ladybugs that land on my leg,
flickering lights in dark rooms—
this is how we communicate.
I say hello, tell her
about my day, remind her
that she should still be here.

But I love—she loved—life too deeply
for me to be here on my bed, back bare
against my comforter
thinking of death. So I stretch,
smile, say see you soon.

I open my door to an angel,
two fairies, a ghost, and Britney Spears
drunk, in line for the bathroom.
Lights dimmed, steady, calling me—
come dance in the dining room.