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Catching Up with Millie

By Alex Carrigan

PROMPT—I am grateful for ...

For Emily “Millie” Carrigan

I didn’t cry when I heard that you had passed away, Millie.

I had cried two days before when Dad told me you

were in the hospital. I cried when I realized it was

happening much sooner than any of your

children or grandchildren could have anticipated.

I remember how you pocket dialed me exactly

a week before. How you happened to catch me

at lunch time. How we could talk because I was

finally working full time remote.

How you wanted to hear about what I was doing, how I was doing.

I wanted to know the same. I don’t even remember

what I said that day. I just remember I was happy

that we got the chance to talk.

My siblings and I made sure to make four-way calls

during COVID so you wouldn’t think

your grandchildren forgot about you

all the way in central Florida.

I thought about all I wanted to share with you.

How I wanted to share bottomless mimosas at

drag brunch when you finally visited me in DC.

How I wanted to show you how to make butter chicken

after you saw me make it on FaceTime.

How I wanted to have talks longer than we could make

with your home’s spotty cellular connection.

How I wanted you to finally show me Jesus Christ Superstar,

knowing that it meant so much to you that you dropped everything

the one time a year it came on TV. How I wanted to ask you more

questions about our family since there was so

that Dad didn’t know and couldn’t tell us.

I didn’t cry when I heard you had passed away.

I wouldn’t until three months later when we placed

your urn in the ground back in Dad’s hometown.

That day, Dad said he couldn’t look at his four sisters without crying.

I couldn’t write this poem without crying either. After Nicole Tallman


Alex Carrigan (he/him) is a Pushcart-nominated editor, poet, and critic from Virginia. He is the author of May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). He has had fiction, poetry, and literary reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lambda Literary Review, Barrelhouse, Sage Cigarettes (Best of the Net Nominee, 2023), Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019), and more. For more information, visit or follow him on Twitter @carriganak.


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