The Fight

    Fifteen years old, a greasy lake at night.
    Here are my bad boys in leather jackets
    (except really they are wearing t-shirts)
    staring at my sweating skin, phallic glow
    dripping, teasing, grinning, at them until
    he pulls it out. Not that. Something stranger—
    it looks like the plastic stalactite that
    I bought at the gift shop on our fifth grade
    field trip to the underground caves. That’s the
    first thing I think. So that’s what crystal meth
    looks like. He hid it in a pencil box,
    plastic bag nestled under a bed of pens,
    right next to our chemistry book. I thought:
    “Shit. I haven’t done our chem homework yet.
    Can you do chemistry while high?” Such thoughts,
    those kill me now. “Here,” he said, “here,” and the
    greasy lake, the oily, ugly thing
    Now, I saw
    Blue velvet, the night sky, my grandmother’s
    blackberry pie, that enchanting mush of
    shiny, blue-black rapture, a pool of ink.
    If I swam in it, I would rule the world.

    Eight years have passed. Here I am again, but
    the lake, grease again. My shrink made me come
    here—no, my shrink had the idea to come,
    and throw my plastic stalactite into
    the dark abyss. Symbolically absolve
    myself of the memory, sitting there,
    on my beside table, the damned trinket—
    it’s not his fault. I liked that day in the
    caves, the wet, honeyed must of old rain, and
    admiring my shiny meth stick on
    the bus ride home. It can’t be just plastic
    anymore—nothing can be anything
    by itself, in my tweaked glass mind. I throw:
    The lake shudders like a night sweat when it
    hits. I grind, shake, writhe, fight, think of prison,
    sweet shiny shackles of safe sober sheen.
    It sinks to the bottom, and I rise up.


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