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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.


Sarah Grace Goolden

Blue Cross Blue Shield wants me dead. It’s the only thing we have

in common.

Blue picks the restaurant: an empty pill bottle, dopamine pixie dust

still sticking to the sides. It’s almost pretty–– the orange, the confinement.


It begins with typical first date questions, like Are you sleeping?

When you are, is it paradise or purgatory? Do you sometimes feel like time has curdled

& sits on your skin? Does it feel like a scab or a rash? Do you even feel anything



& what is there to do except blow bubbles into my red wine,

tell them I love Zinfandel but it gives me a headache


to which they remind me I’ve already told them that, remind me

I’m not supposed to be drinking & I remind them


that I’m only flesh & Brut. Blue says Tell me something

no one knows about you. & what is there to say


except I want everything to be funny & precious,

that it stings when it’s not, that it never is.


I tell Blue I’m a sundial or two because I am beautiful

& useless.


I tell Blue that I want to talk about pedagogical implosions

& that I have never quite figured out how


to pick out good watermelon, always bringing home mush.

As they twirl their pen, trying to figure out what boxes to check


they ask why it isn’t, why I am, why I don’t

in a mindless way, like an heirloom opal being used as a skipping stone.


I tell Blue I don’t want to talk anymore.

They say I don’t think that’s true and that’s true.


Blue Cross Blue Shield finishes their paperwork

& denies my chemical request, calls me a liar.


Suddenly, I want to live


Author Bio: Sarah Grace Goolden is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at American University. She is the Poetry Editor for FOLIO magazine and a bookseller at an independent DC bookstore. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Appalachian Review, Dillydoun Review, Defunkt Magazine and The Coraddi. In the future, Sarah Grace wants to teach all day and write alongside her cats, rats and girlfriend all night.

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