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Asshole Support Group by Ellen Huang

I hate thinking that there’s an asshole support group.

I really do. I find myself skeptical

of being told to never apologize

and I find myself seething

thinking there are people

sitting cross-legged on the floor,

or lounging around a couch,

laid back on pillows, or hugging a pillow,

shown screenshots of all my texts,

telling you to never apologize.

I’m screaming at not being able

to change lanes in traffic, also gripping

the wheel and cursing the names

of those I see jealously,

those who still get to be your friend

when now I know it’s a shuffle of cards,

who gets to hear what story about who

it’s a mafia game, accusations abound;

a werewolf game, roles swap overnight.

I’m helpless sitting in the car

trying to calm down so I drive safely

mumbling in confusion that somehow

people will see insults and take compliments

from the same mouth;

people will somehow, over thoughtful deep talks,

even with pain from you themselves,

invoke “self-care,” “do what’s best for you,”

“put yourself first,” “who cares what they think.”

people will say, “she shouldn’t have done

that,” “she can’t guilt trip you,” “how

manipulative, to cry, to want a hug”

and you could tell stories, and now I’m in them, to others;

and you could write songs, or share media;

you could rush to these go-to people

just to hear them tell you not to change a thing.

you could write a poem just like this one

and your own audience would take your side

and that would be your right

and that would also just be the most

baffling bullshit

how many assholes

have I accidentally sided with?

well, I suppose, for one, you.


Ellen Huang is published/forthcoming in X-Ray Lit, Next Door Villain, VIBE, Prismatica, Wrongdoing Magazine, Resurrection Mag, and more. She reads for Whale Road Review and is currently working on a fairy tale chapbook and an ace horror anthology. You should see her semi-spiritual blog:

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