top of page

Missing Out

This author is a recipient

of the Sigma Tau Delta Award

Sigma Tau Delta Awarde

Emily Kingery

is the author of Invasives (Finishing Line Press, 2023) and the recipient of several honors in poetry and prose. Her work appears widely in journals. She teaches English at St. Ambrose University and serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit supporting writers in the Quad Cities community ( Read more of her work at


We ate at Olive Garden. We wore dresses in

taffetas stained with punches spiked with

prescriptions, threw punches in tuxedos.

We nursed 24-packs in the after-prom backs

of trucks backed up to fires, our faces lit,

our hair warped into horns from hairspray

and hardness of backseat sleep. We were old

and too young to foresee we would do this

ten, twenty years into our beaten little lives

and send our CD and VHS lies to Salvation Army

for you. You, and your children, too, will pose

under cardboard stars, order cheap pancakes

the morning after, and you won’t have time

or cameras enough to spin that straw into

gold or a bed to dream on. Good luck trying

not going to the cool kid’s house where we

still wash our livers clean of use. It’s a party

you can’t miss. No one ever misses a thing.

bottom of page