the words encircle my head in white clouds
as you write a prescription for more zolpidem,
—and i won't take it, no, i'll give it all away, because
sleep means dreams of my sixth grade teacher
and you didn't do your work again, you problem child,
you kleptomaniac, and you weren't even in a single class—
and they taunt me because i spent years despising her traits
and burying them where no one could find them: inside me
a selfish, attention-seeking, and manipulative liar,
a histrionic, borderline bitch and miserable drug addict.
i push aside the visions that mock me.
(silence, conscience, you know that in those days
i was cleverer than that. i was busy playing the system.
i wrote the longest stories of all
in my green grammar composition book.)
i fooled no one. (i bled into tissues
and giggled, digging pens into my skin.
cat ears off in the hallway, please.
do we need to call your parents?
no, no, please not that again, i said,
but i'd rather not get into that.)
and somehow i conned enough people to find my way home
with the sign-in system that makes it feel like a hotel.
you know you lied to get here, dear,
and now they're finding you out.
it's only a matter of time until you're stuck between
the streets and nails digging into your skin.
and your charm is fading; the makeup wore off
revealing the heavy eye bags, and they realized
you were her. every story you told about every
compulsive liar, every obsessive freak you knew—
yes, they were all you all along, and now they know.
they can tell i tricked her and bruised her
and locked her in a bathroom stall
and pretended she was the guilty one.
they can smell the blood on my hands
and the vodka on my breath, and i suppose
i will never have paid enough.