My eyes feel like they're

b.l.e.e.d.i.n.g, cheeks feel

rough, scars that should be there

(the hot water from my mother's

curlers, or rather the round plastic

bubble that heated them, on my

too-pale skin should have left

a mark)

are not,

and I am glaring at the too-bright

walls of this too-empty house, (they say

the stone walls are the reason it's so cold, I say

it's the chill of the people i believe died

standing over the bathroom sink, angry

to have died in such an undignified way)

trying to outlast the reflection of the

moon on the fake tiles, to outlive the stickers

found on fruit stuck to the cork of

the underside of these kitchen counters

(carefully hidden there when I was six,

yes, I remember the mischievous thoughts

cart-wheeling through my head at the

time, boy, was I clever.)

attempting (on this not-so exotic

wednesday evening) to keep my mind

sharp, my tongue sharper and

my heart soft enough for my tongue

to slice through.

and speaking to myself

quietly is

the word outlast, refusing to lay down

and be still, instead insisting on

reading /outlast this catastrophe/ a

lyrical fragment of a song I've forgotten,

pounding its way into this poem.

and mother's not home to tell me

which way to look before I

cross the street, mother's not home

to listen to my S.c.r.e.a.m.s. (underline

twice in thick bleeding red felt tip pen)

I am Vonnegut-esque, the boy in the window

with a loaded gun and some time to kill,

the kid they put on display in a jail cell

with blue ink splashed on my face

like a paper mache mask that never

hardened.