by Mark Pajak

She chafes a flame from the lighter,
listens to its gush of butane.

This thirteen-year-old,
hunkered down behind the PE hut.

For a full minute she watches
the raw egg-white heat quiver

round its yolk. Then she unthumbs
and the flame slims out.

She tugs back her sleeve on a scar,
a small pink socket in her forearm.

She holds her breath and plugs in
the hot lighter. Her lips clench white,

eyes into walnuts, the metal cap
fizzing into skin and fat and this

is how she deletes herself. Her mind’s
blank page a kind of snow blindness.

Then, all her muscles go slack.
She opens her eyes for what feels

like the first time. Lets out the breath
taken in by someone else.