This week I realized that I’d forgotten the names of everyone
I ever knew who made meth. Cooked it, like it was a curry.
Like it was broth or marrow. I forgot their names and what
I was doing with them, those chemists in plaid shirts and jeans.
I forgot their names and their quiet dissipation, how they went
from names into shadows and from there, into chairs
in the cooling November courtyard at the university.
Which is where I had gone to live. Which was already between us
and changing everything. I forget that saying goodbye seemed
for sure like the last time and was.
O I was vicious with all that indifference and felt it.
And now I forget.
How it feels to turn out of the Enchanted Hills trailer park
onto the county road. The negative space of a trillion uncounted
organisms, riding the rods of heat and light, spitting out electrons
with amazing fury. And the pickling smell on that plaid shirt, the odor
of adhesion and dilution. The hairline fracture between
car window and nightlight into which my breath
would go, carrying out all its dire smoke. And now,
to use them, the makers of meth, the Indiana boys,
the kings of hard-science that I could not fathom. To use them
after having bested them. And still, somehow, to lose them.