High (School)

A Poetic Portrait of One Who Got Away

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

sure enough, the overgrown man-pup lopes

through the door — lithe and all

limbs, this teenage dealer boy

his walk as easy as the lopsided grin on his face

under scotch whiskey eyes watching, always

watching, with subtle bags and

less subtle red lower lids —

pupils always blown wide

visible track marks down his arms

and a worn softcover of DMT: The Spirit Molecule

mark him as a walking chemistry set

later, he’ll tell me what compounds he laps up

to escape “humdrum reality, man”, and too many

will be the very neon capsules that keep me human

that keep me safe and stable and “square” —

when he asks, “can you sell me a few”

the discussion ends sharply in a shake of my head

a tired scowl settling on my features, familiar as ever

my shoulders tense, waiting for inevitable fall out

that begins “you’re such an uptight bitch” and only gets

tawdrier and weirder from there, but

instead, his wolfish grin remains, bony

shoulders shrugging like he doesn’t mind

like he’s never minded anything —

minutes later, when the bell rings

he’ll bound out the door in that same easy, leggy

Mick-Jagger-after-a-few-too-many-drinks kind of stride

leaving behind faint stirrings

of cannabis and cologne and

the hungry longing behind a coyote’s gaze —

the kind that sticks with me after graduation, one year

later, when I realize after a late night date gone wrong,

we never knew each other’s names or chemistry

past scrawled notes and Rx lists in 3rd period.

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