I Was a Teenage Psychopath

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Contributor: Justin Holliday

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You may as well rip a cloud from the sky
and twist it into a set of diaphanous semicolons,
a promise never to stop
trying to figure me out. Like most grammar,
I could easily puncture your logic, show you
the failure to hook me
lies in your inept grasp
that I can keep moving.

There are no signs; to lead you out of this,
you had to first be sucked in. Was it my face?
Or the way I handled a drink
though I looked sixteen?
You must believe me: I am careful.
Always. Someone may pause and think
I simply play games.
Have you played Never Have I Ever?

Take a drink for what you haven’t done.
This head reveals nothing
but assurances:
Never have I ever coveted my neighbor’s pony.
Never have I ever believed in profiling people.
Never have I ever stolen a candy bar or toy.
Never have I ever tortured an animal to death,
blood drying on the cuffs of my shirt. I swear

that I’m boring, that you’ll forget me.
After tonight, there is nothing to hold onto
except the thoughts of a young man
who bought you shots. The vodka was not
the only pleasure; there was also the smell
that will linger on my wrists
like a musky perfume
when you are exsanguinated.

My only jealousy will be that
the coroner will have the honor
of recording you, preserving you
with a toe tag, a memento
of adolescent games
for a body that gave me all
while I soberly shared
my company and my razor blade.

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Justin Holliday has been published in HelloHorror, Up the Staircase, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere.


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