2 June 2004 | Vol. 4, No. 2

Why I'm Here

My parents remembered the Cuervo but forgot the condom.

I wasn't flattened by that bus when I was five.

I didn't go with Thom and Mick to the ravine that night.

My dad fled to Canada.

I don't bug rabid dogs.

Mick flashed his .38 in homeroom.

My mom refused to go to the clinic.

Where the hell else would I be?

The witch told me the trees at the ravine smelled like death.

My father took my mom to emergency after that trip down the stairs.

I hatch escape plans in movie theaters.

I told them I was too stoned to go.

My mom never put arsenic in my apple pie.

I check the seal on my aspirin.

The witch drew the King of Swords.

My brother's the one who drove his Harley off the Chittinaw Bridge.

I drive a piece of shit only a moron would jack.

I lied to the police.

My father never hit me hard enough.

I don't bungee jump.

I followed them to the ravine that night.

My mom didn't need smokes the day the party store was hit.

Eve ate the apple.

My sister lied to the police.

There's no room in hell.

I don't bank at the ATM.

The witch's cards said they'd kill me.

I never landed after falling off the mountain in my dream.

I exercise and drink plenty of fluids.

I threw the clothes and the knife off the Chittinaw Bridge.

My aunt dumped my father.

I quit shooting up.

I'm here because they're not.

About the author:

Dorene O'Brien's fiction has appeared in Clackamas Literary Review, New Millennium Writings, the Red Rock Review, Inkwell, the MacGuffin, Peregrine, Fine Print, the Chicago Tribune and others. She is the 2000 winner of Red Rock Review's Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, the 2002 winner of New Millennium's Fiction Award, and a 2003 winner of the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. She has been nominated for a 2003 Pushcart Prize, has won the 2004 Bridport Prize, and has received a 2004 literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches writing at the College for Creative Studies and at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her website is located at doreneobrien.com.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Dorene O'Brien at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 4, No. 2, where "Why I'm Here" ran on June 2, 2004. List other work with these same labels: poetry, catalog.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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