"Silent Disco" by Adrian Belmes

this confesses nothing.

 

it was not I who bought the bottle

or conceived of the idea that we hike

across this last year campus to the 

dance that they’re been running poorly

for the past three years.

 

it was not I who brought you to the bathroom

stall and held your hair up while you laughed,

batted hands away, and slammed your head

against a soap dispenser, filmed it and

distributed the violence to our phones.

 

this is the power of cheap wine and zero conscience,

the trust we place in surrogates and strangers.

 

when you are held up in the elevator, I give

your hand my shoulder, take your bag, and

hoist you as we take our leave, not

having spent more than an hour dancing

in that sweaty hall, rank of beer and freely

groping fingers in the lists. 

 

it is time for us to go

steal lemons from a passing yard

and put them in your backpack,

laugh at the sororities, forget the streets we came here on,

and wander this disjointed land of houses, mismatched

with no management.

 

I signed the warrant of your death with 

a plastic lawn chair and a red cup

full of water, pressed into your 

hands, pushed past your mouth, and down

below your ribs, into your gut, only to be

brought back to the surface when I’m gone. 

 

you’re a champ, they say,

and I’m the one who’s laughing now.

you’re not my crime, 

but I have made you pay.