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Danielle Shorr

Danielle (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, Vassar Review, Hobart, Driftwood Press, The Florida Review, The New Orleans Review and others.


Steps away from where I got in trouble with a cop on a bike for having weed.
The dairy queen I gravitated towards whenever that weed was smoked.

Down the block from where I had my bat mitzvah. Half a mile from the house
that my cousins grew up in. Turn the corner to the find hotdog shop that my dad

worked at in high school—this is the basis of a home. I wish I was capable of feeling
surprised, or shocked anymore. Because of anxiety, I have always imagined the worst.

Imagination is a sick beast, reality, a worse one. But the truth is I haven’t felt safe
in a movie theater since 2012, music festival, since 2017, schools, 1999. I remember

reading that the Virginia Tech shooter used hollow point bullets because of their ability
to shred the body from the inside out. I remember these details more than I remember anything

I learned in school. I was seventeen when twenty first graders died inside their classroom,
twenty-two when seventeen high schoolers died on Valentine’s day. I always kiss my fiancé

before work like it could be the last time. I hope that the locks on our classrooms are tough
enough to keep us whole, hope that the basement locations of our English classes are too

forgotten to be a target. I eat dessert now at every dinner because when seems more plausible
than if. If I die tomorrow, by someone else’s hands, I want them to know how much

I wanted to be here, how it was not always that way. If fingers point towards their mental illness,
I want them to know about mine and the work it took to keep me here, never a thought

of hurting anyone else but me. The weight of being a body nowadays is less heavy than the
weight of having yours stolen from you, or worse, from the ones you love most. I hope that

whatever comes after this life, heaven or else, comes with more places to hide
and less of a reason to.

That Summer I Was Twenty

ghosted by retail jobs and working at a cake shop
where people came to decorate treats, 6 cupcakes
or a 6-inch cake worth an entire day’s pay, I asked
confetti or chocolate, pink, red, green, yellow, or blue,
If it was a birthday, or just another Tuesday. On a good day,
nobody threatened to ask for a manager. On a good day,
nobody told me to go fuck myself for closing, or apologizing,
or existing. Rolling enough fondant balls to guarantee
carpal tunnel and licking frosting off of my fingers
in the kitchen, I ached from the sweetness. At the end
of every shift, I shook out sprinkles from the middle pocket
of my apron. Sometimes i found them in my hair, pants, even
my ears. All day long I made pour over coffee and served
it to wealthy moms who had never worked on minimum wage
and tips. I cried in the walk-in and the bathroom, in the parking
lot behind the store and the backroom. I stuffed day-old
cupcakes in my mouth like it was a contest and dreamt
of work outside of pastries. Watching kids construct Skittle
borders and paint with buttercream, I envied their freedom to be
creative, to be an artist for the day. At home I wrote poems
and wished to be anything but a writer. I loved a man who wanted
to make movies but instead did nothing. I loved him with more
energy than I could afford. I worked and worked and slept
when I didn’t. It didn’t take long for icing to start to taste like poison.
For months after my work was over, I couldn’t eat cake. The sight
of it made me gag. It was a summer job that ended. It was never
meant to be permanent, the relationship, too. The come down
from the sugar rush would be rough, but temporary. Eventually,
I would be able to eat cake again, cupcakes too. I can stomach
icing. In the bakery section at the grocery store, I choose pie.

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