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In Defense Of The Boy Who Made Heartbreak Hurt Like A Hangover

You were a dive bar. Shot of gin I told the bartender to keep pouring
You tasted like cherry but went down like whiskey. Called me a slut

before cheating on me with five other girls. Said I made you do it, funneled
bitters down my gullet. Going up north became your code for throwing

back other women. I’d bet my whole liver you’re a narcissist.
But you were lonely. In over your head. Spent half

of senior year playing guitar in bars in small-town Texas,
other half outcast to your high school’s outskirts. You only wanted

to belong. Something that would knock your head beneath
your heels again. When you saw me, you saw stars. Saw my bloodshot

tendrils—not red red but strawberry blonde enough—and thought,
this is where I belong. In your defense, a recurring dream of some faceless

chick, hair red flag heaving. In your defense, my virgin
heart, hips hungry for love, ribcage housing ivory keys thirsting

for a little blood. In your defense, I was naive as fuck.
It was wrong to expect so much. But you were good

at giving love. Gave me my first dose two weeks in. Four weeks,
a sapphire ring. Six, our future kids’ descriptions. And I drank

and drank and drank. In your defense, you were a freshman,
and I’d spent the past year fucking half the guys in the theater

department—Banquo on a Sunday, townsperson #3 at a masquerade
on a Tuesday—so I get it. I saw the same stars, same future.

We were both wasted on it. And how is soulmate, star-crossed,
champagne-drunk love supposed to compete with being eighteen

and primal? You were passionate. Incurable romantic. Melody
and lyric, scotch and vodka, open on Sundays and past 2 a.m.

You were a heart attack, head in the oven, echo in a bottle,
everything in extremes. Just like me.

Bio – Kait Quinn was born with salt in her wounds. She flushes the sting of living by writing poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Reed Magazine, Crosswinds Poetry, Chestnut Review, Polemical Zine, VERSES, and others. By day, Kait is a legal assistant living in Minneapolis with her partner, their regal cat (Spart), and their very polite Aussie mix (Jesse).

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