I found her in the middle of the night,
swirling in circles, alone, in the park with
the weeping willows and rundown water-fountains.
She swirled with her head thrown back and
her arms outstretched: reaching for something
in the horizon, in the very air, that she could not seem to grasp.
Like the fool I was, I stood there with my jeans
and black-hooded jacket pulled all the way up—
an obvious surveillance. The streetlights whispered of
my intrusion; they told me to run along back home
just like I was going to. But my legs, the pillars of intrigue
they were, stayed put.

She saw me, of course.

She ran toward me,
but stopped ten feet away;
her frame remaining hidden
in the shadows.

"Beware of the dragons!" she shouted,
a toothy grin on her face, wild laughter shortly ensuing.

I pulled my hood over my head,
shoved my hands into my pockets.
It was the dead of night. It was cold.

"You shouldn't be out here," I told her.
"You could get raped…kidnapped…killed?"

She laughed.

"Boy," she drawled with puckering lips,
"I'm only scared of dragons, like the one hiding
behind the slide of the playground. He threatened to
devour me—the nerve! Not even taking the time to
want to savor every morsel of my being."

She stepped forward into the dim light. Brown hair
flowed onto the shoulders of an oversized gray sweatshirt
with noticeable holes and stains. Her jeans had become
a mural of sharpie messages that I couldn't quite make out
in the night. Her pupils were so dilated that her irises looked like
golden rings encasing an expanse of darkness in her eyes.

"What're you on?" I asked the girl.
She smirked--a Cheshire Cat beauty.

"I don't know what you're talking about—
I'm just out here spending some quality time with
my very good friends Adam and Sid."

She stared at me with a distant, hypnotic gaze,
and I already knew I was going to fall in love with her;
with her intoxication, her fleeting, yet magical reality.
But I also already knew that come morning
she'd be nothing but dust n' bones.

She sensed my hesitancy.

"Would you like to meet them?" she asked with an
edge of mischief on her tongue. Her hands dove
into her hidden pockets, only resurfacing to reveal a
purple pill with the imprint of a butterfly resting in one palm,
and a paper blot with a picture of the mad hatter in the other.

It must've been around one in the morning. At home a numb
father was sleeping and a mother was drowning herself in vodka.
There would be scattered newspapers and paper plates on the
counters, a stale scent of cigarettes pervading the air.

There was nothing waiting for me, there.

I took off my hood, and walked over to her outstretched hands;
the very same hands that had captured my attention before, save for
now they were offering my own salvation, and I was the one desperately
trying to reach for it.

I swallowed the butterfly,
praying it would give me my own pair of wings
to soar the starless skies with.

"That's Adam," she said, suddenly taking my hand in her own.
Cold flesh gripping metal. I wasn't sure whose skin was whose, at first.
But then I realized it wasn't the night that was cold. It was me.

"He'll bring you back to life," she whispered softly.

"You swear it?"

"On my broken heart," she said.