This is my baby, he said, as he hiked
His black Dickies jeans up past his left knee.
He circled the 9 millimeter scar with his index
And pivoted, revealing the exit wound
On the backside of his leg through the hamstring.
And this was when I was in Juvie, continuing,
Leaving his leg, and lifting his shirt, revealing not only
The faint three inch slash right above the waistline,
But his expansive tattoo scrawled across his torso.
“Until I Die”—a tribute to lifestyle.
We smoked a joint at the kitchen table that night,
He got up mid-hit, and rummaged through a box in
the storage closet. He pulled out a ragged, over-used
notebook. No cover. No back. Just ink-riddled pages.
Landing on a temperate passage he starts,
“I am the boy with paper skin, who longs
to touch the girl made of broken glass.”
I moved in with a masked hot mess,
who told me I wasn’t walking
face first into a shit storm,
that she was cleaning
her wild ways and starting anew
I love him she says, about
this speedfreak that moved in,
just days after the heroin addict.
I didn’t get it.
There was nothing left of him but
a couple of coughs and a handful of twitches.
She told me over tacos about her relationship
with her mother, who’d let her have
prescription heroin patches if she’d sell them for her.
She used to strip, and wishes she made the money too.
Xanax, suboxone, and someone else’s
problems are in our bathroom cabinet.
Cigarette smoke rolls out of her thin lips.
That makes a pack, give or take, today.
Her parted lips match her cracking body and
her anemic skin salvages its luster through
tanning beds and avocados. I’ve counted the empty
pill capsules around the house,
they lay like wounded soldiers.
I see her swagger though, like she knows what she is,
hair blow-dried like Bo Derek, nails painted red,
She walks, long legs on shattered ankles.