by Patrick Dougherty

Amy — a freshman. She had cut marks on her arms. I noticed when she reached to take a paper I was handing out to the class. I spoke to her afterward. She said it was from an accident. I alerted the counselors. Self-harm, I figured. She didn’t return to school. We never saw her again.

I spit words of fire in my heart
burn the temples of my thoughts
with anger raged across wild memories
cast ember burning to the tinder buttresses
of my wandering mind

An inhabitant of a smaller universe
I fumble about its constellations
briefly join in the timeless minuet
of an orbit here then there
among the orbs that skate the heavens

And soon I leave or am forced away
to crash with comet haste
to new directions reaching still
always for the gentle halo tug
of a gravity that fits my own