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OUTGROWING MY MENTOR

 

I sat at your feet;

metaphorically, of course, only metaphorically;

as I remember it, I sat on the couch,

as you, with your strangely lilting voice,

held my hand and walked me through;

 

patiently;

 

meticulously;

 

the pitiless steps of the reverent ritual.

 

 

 

You were so gentle

as you wrapped the tourniquet around my bicep;

laughed at the expression on my face

pinched the crook of my arm

to bruise and raise a vein.

and as you slid the needle in and we watched the blood

cloud the water inside,

 

you apologized, profusely,

 

for the infinitesimal pinprick

 

that precedes the rapture.

 

 

 

I swore to you,

in that ghastly and gorgeous moment,

this is how it would always be;

 

that you would be there,

 

by my side, every time,

 

to guide me down the path of night.

but like the other oaths that passed between us,

this too, was a hopeful lie.

 

 

 

The day came, as it was

 

ever

 

destined to do,

that you were gone;

selling yourself

in the fashion required

for you to get by;

and the pull of oblivion

proved stronger, by far,

than either love or trust or art,

 

so I took the syringe and

 

taught myself

 

not to need you anymore.