The problem wasn’t that I stopped at a Steak ‘N’ Shake for dinner on the way to your party, but that near Cleveland I couldn’t help but crack open the Great Lakes IPAs I had bought at a 7-Eleven near the Steak ‘N’ Shake and the headlights became shooting stars on 71 but I hadn’t considered meteoric impact and the crater I would have left, a vast hole – I hope– in my loved ones’ lives and I now know I have to sometimes be depressing to climb out of a rut (today included, this long ladder up), to remember vehicular impact affects more than me but that this world runs on an oil field of sad things happening and I am trying my best to prevent the potential to die every day and I have eluded it, as you have, and I love you, I love you, and must remember you might love me, too.

(originally published in Magnolia Review, Winter 2021)

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