A Sketch

If you could take the day by the hand

even now and say Come Father

calling it by your own name

it might rise in its blindness with all

its knuckles and curtains

and open the eyes it was born with

                                 -W.S. Merwin, “The Day”



I am fifteen years old and might as well be five. The most difficult thing I have ever done is read the part from Anne Frank’s diary where she’s talking about puberty out loud in front of my eighth-grade English class without laughing. I am wearing a t-shirt from The GAP and orange khaki pants that have a zipper at the knees that if I unzip turns them (the pants) into orange khaki shorts. I am fifteen and taller than all of my teachers and goofy with one droopy eyelid and conspicuously, grotesquely, virginal.

I am bored. I have been bored since second grade when they started putting me in the third grade math class in Another Room with Third Graders I corrected Mr. M’s error on the chalkboard. I am fifteen and bored sitting at a comically small desk thinking about second grade and was I born in the wrong city to the wrong family in the wrong era of history?

I am fifteen and bored, with a slight boner, thinking about the girl across the room and imagining her body naked. I have been watching pornography regularly ravenously on the computer ever since sixth grade when a friend said something about 69 at the lunch table and I didn’t know what it was so when I got home from school I googled it, and so I know what a real naked girl might look like, I think.

I am fifteen and bored and my package has just arrived. I have very little idea what William Burroughs is about but I had my mom buy me The Yage Letters on Amazon. It’s finally here. I am fifteen and what is Moloch! Moloch! or capitalism? but I’ve been on the Wikipedia page for DMT and ayahuasca and marijuana and I like Ginsberg and so mom bought me The Yage Letters. Mom has no idea what DMT or ayahuasca are. She may or may not know about Wikipedia. We both have no idea how marijuana smells.


I am seventeen years old–not five–with a droopy eye and somehow still getting taller, still getting taller wow, the doctor says, you must really be pretty good at swimming.

I am not really pretty good at swimming, but thanks but I think I have ADD or something. I’m not sure. I’m always bored and restless and can’t pay attention to the chalkboard and the teachers are dumb and I keep getting up out of my comically small desk or staring out the window.

Secretly I’ve known that I have attention deficit disorder ever since last spring when I scooped some Adderall XR for the SAT. After I took that pill I just knew. Talking to the doctor, though, I omit the part about my clandestine SAT doping; telling her would just complicate things.

I am seventeen with a slight boner at a comically small desk sneakreading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason while my civics teacher teaches. It is much more difficult than Plato’s Republic. One reason I like the ADD medicine is it makes my eyelid feel less droopy. It doesn’t actually make the eyelid less droopy, but it makes it feel that way. In four years, I will come to have a visceral, phenomenological understanding of the word ‘delusion.’

And I am seventeen on a drug I conned the doctor for sitting at a comically small desk, desperate for ayahausca and Truth and, most of all, sex.

Outside, the sky is a dark grey. Anyone who is paying attention can tell it’s going to storm soon.

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