diphenyl oxalate

by Sophia Carney

diphenyl oxalate (n.): a solid ester whose oxidation products are responsible for the chemiluminescence in a glowstick

i.
the drugstore glowstick curled around my knuckles and
cracking in my palm gives off more light than i ever will

ii.
when i was seven i fell asleep with a pink one in my mouth and
chewed it as i slept for something solid to hold onto
the made-in-china fluid spilled out
and stained the inside of my cheek till i was glowing, glowing

iii.
i don’t believe in the divine but now i mumble a prayer
to the lightning bug gods to let me pour out of my skin;
let my epidermis crack like so many knuckles and
spill out, stain the white shag carpet at my feet

iv.
not the 99-cent neon i roll between my fingertips,
but something dark and oozing and long past its sell-by date
that cannot be encased in polypropylene

v.
no matter if my veins snap with my sanity
if it means i no longer leave a stain
on everything i touch.