Things You’ve Missed in the Three Years Since Your Death (On Your 26th Birthday

by Danielle Shorr

Harry Styles’ debut album, Harry Styles’ rise to massive mainstream
popularity, Billie Eilish’s debut album and second, the return of bad
fashion from the early 2000s, Tik Tok, your mom and I emptying
your storage unit, uncovering a time capsule of you, college graduation,
an entire pandemic, people stockpiling toilet paper, west coast wildfires,
your dog starting to turn white in the face, your sister’s new puppy, too many
movies, Ariana Grande getting engaged to Pete Davidson, Kim Kardashian’s
divorce, Pete Davidson dating Kim Kardashian, shit you would care about
even if shallow at best, bad politics, chaotic politics, a new president, general
chaos, so much reality tv, murder hornets, cake disguised as everything,
countless engagement announcements, meeting my husband, dress shopping,
my wedding, the opportunity for someone to love you right, so good
that you forget what life looked like before, a love that swallows your days
in the best way, 1 year, 2 years, almost 4, your 23rd birthday, your 24th
birthday, your 25th birthday, all the celebratory dinners, cakes eaten
in your honor, future I wish I’d done a better job selling you, future I wish
I could’ve made into something you wanted more, worth staying for, seeing
unfold, your role as the other half of jokes, secrets, memories, one-sided
conversations from my toilet at three in the morning, all the people who loved
you, who love you, who hate that you’ve been reduced to history, memorialized
in photos, Facebook posts, saved text messages, your elementary school picture
held up by a magnet on my refrigerator door, I miss you like childhood,
like summers before career took over, like college and foggy nights, like a glass
of wine and half a Xanax, I miss you like Monday longs for the weekend
before, like a gallbladder plucked out of its origins, fine despite your absence,
alive, survived and breathing, a body that functions, a body that longs
for what’s been taken from it

Danielle Shorr (she/her) is an MFA alum and professor of disability rhetoric and creative writing at Chapman University. She has a fear of commitment in regard to novel writing and an affinity for wiener dogs. Her work has been published by Lunch Ticket, Split Lip, The Florida Review, The New Orleans Review and others.