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Bison Called Buffalo
by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

“One of the top five kisses of all time” made me cringe the most.  Like you could quantify that. And then you tried to describe that time in the outdoor 1AM when we fumblingly calculated punctuated mouth-on-other-mouth. When we tried to impress each other with startling ever-persistent stomach butterflies, and ended up frightening and becoming frightened by a passing doe. Though we were acting out a cliché, the pureness of our feelings seemed to erase the embarrassment. At the time it seemed pretty sincere.

You ended up calling it ‘love,’ but only years later.

How do two people argue about whether it’s called buffalo or bison, pock marking moments where our teeth knocked each other? “There aren’t any fucking buffaloes in the US, they were bison.” Later I twisted my ankle at your retreating back. I don’t think we were arguing about quadrupeds.

Static years later the internet told us we are perfect for one another. Which is a shame that it didn’t tell us that after the kissing, and the deer, and the bison called buffalo.

In an airport in Denver we swapped war stories over wavy lines and the squinting glare of crappy phones. I ate THC-laced chocolate and waited for a plane that was 12-hours away from lift-off. You kept me company while I dumped overpriced beer on top of legalized candy, sloshing in my stomach with wings of insects beating against my ribs. You messaged encouragements when I got sick to my stomach and my eyes were all foggy. You said the cringe worthy thing about kisses that happened before a lifetime of silence. It made me smile, but I might have been drunk.

I pressed the hot phone against my cheek while it buzzed message after message from you, and the sheen on my face made “plock”ing sounds every time I pulled it away to read your thoughts.

I used to Google search our names with plus signs because I liked to see us still linked together. And I reminded myself to dislike you often to keep you alive. I placed pins in memories of grass blankets at 1M and does, and deer, and kissing. And how I used to know you. All so that on a pilled carpet in Colorado the adult me could love the stranger of adult you. 

Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is an editor at HOOT Review, a cat lady, and a Nutella enthusiast. When not poorly playing the piano, she chronicles the many ways that she embarrasses herself at the website She occasionally drinks wine out of a mug that has a smug poodle on it, and she’s not great at writing in the third person.