it was after that flash in her palm
had been melted down, purified,
stuffed into a syringe and dumped haphazardly
into her tugged-open vein
in the bathroom
that her eyes really opened
and her mouth really spoke
and i really got to know her.

i was so preoccupied with her pupils
dancing, erupting smaller and
smaller and
that i missed the beginning
of her story.

she wasn't making sense,
the drool in the corner of her mouth
bubbled with false memories,
but she was smiling.
i couldn't stop
sucking in this image of her.
eyes rolling, constricting,
making room for her to
crawl inside the socket, keep warm,
be one with her madness,
30 gauge needle
balanced precariously,
ripping the delicate tissue paper of her forearm
as she twitched in recollection.
"you're still here," she breathed,
the smile widening, spilling over her cheeks,
impossibly wide.

"i'm still here," i nodded.

she was telling me about her father.
he was a good man,
a rapist, a timely mosquito
penetrating her
every night,
he was a

"i never had a father," she admitted.
"and he hurt me so much."

she didn't talk about her mother.
i tried to put an image together,
sharp pointing bones
green eyes like vines
spores dotting her iris.
but she didn't talk about her mother,
i was imagining.

my notes were sloppy like the thick lines
sliding up and down her wrists. i dragged my
vision across the desk to the generic clock
i bought at walmart.
five minutes over. my three o'clock was waiting,
impatient and stressed.
i apologized, cut her off,
her eyes squinting to understand.
i reminded myself to check the bathroom for the needle.
had she taken it with her?
did she think i wouldn't notice?

"our time is up," i offered, clumsy hand flopping
toward the doorway.
i recorded her expression changing,
the damp look she had had while dictating
a life to me
washed down to
the peaking pure high, the bombs-exploding-
high. and she nodded
and stood
and left.

i want brutal honesty. this piece is going to be torn apart and re-done, because i love the idea but not this execution. so. help me out.