Reimagining Community


  • Melissa Curatolo


community, reflexivity, poetry, connection, vulnerability


Situated in a western context, this poem explores the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, establishing connections, and participating in community creation, informed by a critical neurodivergent perspective. Experiences such as awkwardness in conversation, or difficulties maintaining consistent social contact, can sometimes lead to community exclusion. Similarly, circumstances beyond a person’s control can result in a lack of social connections or involvement in a community.

Abolitionist frameworks influence the poem’s celebration of a non-punitive approach to community integration, accountability through vulnerability and transformative actions, and active inclusion. Applying these concepts to western social expectations and relationship-building works to shift views of non-normative social interactions in hopes of fostering kindness, deepening existing relationships, and combatting ableism and other forms of marginalization that are embedded in certain social norms. By acknowledging the potential of pain, discomfort, and Other-ing of individuals who face obstacles to socialization, we might engage in radically different ways to be in relationship and in community with one another.

Cascading imagery and poignant queries stumble the reader along until they reach a simple, yet significant, destination: an invitation for reflexivity. Ultimately, this poem critically examines and embraces the malleability and nuances of human sociality.

Author Biography

Melissa Curatolo

Melissa recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, with a minor in Creative Writing, at UBC Okanagan. Her research interests include cultural anthropology; linguistics; morphology; memes; community creation in digital spaces; poetic inquiry, collage, and zine-making in the social sciences; crip theory and Mad studies; urban agriculture; and building community solidarity for a more equitable world. Melissa loves opossums, Garfield (the famous orange cat), tropical astrology, learning, making art, and cuddling her two senior cats. Find more of her writing and see upcoming projects on her website or on Instagram as @elusivefrog and @ohpossumpress

Author Melissa Curatolo softly smiling against a grey wall