the graduation party you decided to skip

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June 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Melissa Llanes Brownlee


fishing coolers engorged with freshly bought beer, uncles smiling and laughing, stroking cigarettes and ukuleles, playing for aunties shoo shooing flies away from the buffet tables, laughing and yelling at kids screaming and tagging around the edges, your friends waiting and talking story, their necks laden with maile, ti leaf, flowers, fake and real, money, candy, yarn, their necks and chins hidden from each other, as you drive to the end of the world, throwing all the leis, including the money, into the pounding surf beneath you, wishing you could join them, escaping the promise of tomorrow


Melissa Llanes Brownlee (she/her), a native Hawaiian writer, living in Japan, has work published or forthcoming in Smokelong Quarterly, Reckon Review, The Hennepin Review, Cheap Pop, Ruby Literary, The Razor, Syncopation Literary Journal, Cotton Xenomorph, Milk Candy Review, Lost Balloon, Best Small Fictions 2021, and Best Microfiction 2022. Read Hard Skin, her short story collection, from Juventud Press. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at




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