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Carrie White Wonders What Difference it Would Have Made by Danielle Shorr

Nominated for Best of the Net

If she had been told about the blood before it came, or if it came

an hour late, or earlier in the day, or in a time when Google

could answer before she even asked

If she could read minds instead of move things with her own

If she had just worn her hair different, or shaved it off whole,

sold it for bus fare to get out of town and never come back

If she defied her mother’s orders, or listened to them better,

or kept a change of clothes in a bush a few blocks down

from her house to switch into and out of before school

If school had been gentler, if the kids had been softer,

if the principal got her name right, if she didn’t care

whether or not he did

If her mother had been someone else, or if her mother hadn’t been

at all, if her father wasn’t dead or elsewhere, if she had been

born from others or dust

If she had prayed harder, in a different language, to someone

or something else, if the cross had been a star

or the star had been a planet

If she read less, spoke more, touched herself less, touched herself

more, touched herself and liked it, touched herself and forgot God,

renamed herself so, used telekinesis to cum and for nothing else

If she fucked him in his car instead of going to the dance

If she stayed the same in every way but fucked

If the Internet could have taught her all the things her mother didn’t

If she had moved an inch to the right or gone to the bathroom then

If the blood on the floor of the stage lit up like a spotlight on humanity

If humanity wasn’t so human, if the good weren’t meant to walk among them

If fate were kinder to the faultless, there would be no story,

no vengeance, no sky raining stones, and no girl

grieving herself into flames


Danielle (she/her) is an MFA alum and professor of disability rhetoric and creative writing at Chapman University. She has a fear of commitment in regard to novel writing and an affinity for wiener dogs. Her work has been published by Lunch Ticket, Vassar Review, Hobart, Split Lip, The Florida Review, etc. and is forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, Permafrost and others.

Art by Five South


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