Unfortunate Deaths from Our Graduating Class, 1994 (Compiled in 2019)

by DeMisty D. Bellinger

Choked on a Maraschino cherry stem near the end of a party. No one noticed until the following morning when the hosts cleaned the celebratory mess Paragliding off a cliff in Wisconsin Dells Singing karaoke at a CW bar somewhere in southwest Texas. An amp fell on his head Fishing for walleye on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, at the height of winter, without proper equipment, hypothermia set in Lung cancer from inhaling silicon while blowing glass at state fairs and living history villages During a mediocre orgasm at a mediocre party in someone else’s bedroom Murder/suicide committed after a pact of not making it by twenty-seven. “We’ll live on in glory” On a hunger strike for a cause no one can recall; did not leave a note In Iraq. Wandered too far west, looking for someone who is truly altruistic. Found two years later, dead from obvious exposure, thirst, and hunger Severe allergic reaction to pine nuts, which, unbeknownst to her, were ground into a delectable pesto. Or maybe it was that she didn’t know she was allergic? Of a rare disease contracted during a trip overseas, to the Netherlands, some place Nordic, with only her Bernese mountain dog. She is survived by her Bernese mountain dog Bernita, her two-year-old son Soren, and her estranged husband Adam, who died, one year later, on a hunting expedition, shot by his best friend/on again-off again lover, in the back though he wore bright orange. His friend, Philly, was charged with murder (of course) and while out on a $75,000 bail, he wandered into Lake Michigan, wearing his hunting gear and carrying his grandfather’s service rifle, the one the cops overlooked and the only one he had left. He never made it to shore again. Philly, too, graduated from our campus, but in 1992. This list is not for him. — DeMisty D. Bellinger teaches creative writing, women’s studies, and African American studies in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in many places, and her chapbook, Rubbing Elbows, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and twin daughters. You can visit her online at demistybellinger.com.   Artwork by: Christian Bartolone