Sidewalk chalk of chemical compounds

Question 1: In what ways do you resemble your father?

I held my breath through the initial burn, waited for the clock to turn backward, exhaled. Salvia divinorum. The air around God felt red, so I left the party, down the highway’s fog line heel to toe like a train on rails. At the end of my walk, God receded into a cloudless, starless sky. I unzipped myself like a hoodie, tried to coax It back by exposing the blinding light of a soul whose existence I still question.

Question 2: In what ways do you resemble your father?

Alchemy is the transmutation of forms into forms. Cocaine hydrochloride + some alkalizing agent + solvent + heat = freebase. Increase the pH too high and you get a rock. We start with a spoon and end up inside a nine-by-twelve-inch Pyrex dish. We inhale vapor. He tells me lightning cracks from the walls, but all I see is the beauty of his genius. We chain-smoke cigarettes and sweat from places that aren’t supposed to.

Question 3: In what ways do you resemble your father?

I deny the violence of onomatopoeia. I admit smack through a hole I tear in myself via slow stabbing motions. An indigo orchid blooms scarlet. Petal, stem, and soil descend into insatiable veins. It’s a half-dreamt euphoria that bests sex. I want to deny this inertia. He convinces me time is physical. We mark years through the motion of celestial bodies. 

Question 4: In what ways do you reassemble your father?

One day during chemistry class, I daydream a happy family. I watch a squirrel stalk a bird on a power line. Rain falls like marbles. Here is a memory from my infancy: He taught me that the heat of my hand expands mercury. He taught me to count the seconds between lightning and thunder and convert it into miles. I am counting. The bird escapes just before lightning strikes the transformer. The squirrel pops into pink mist. Silicon dioxide + carbon oxides + heat = colorful amorphous solids. The sand near the road transforms into glass. I think of my infancy and miss him. My classmates believe I weep for dead squirrels.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, used and adapted under CC.