Jesse at the helm of his own fears

In the prison cell he’s thinking
there are so many kinds of sickness
and finds himself looking at a Mapplethorpe nude,
looking at a hand with the veins stuck out like string burns.

He remembers trying so hard to get a needle
to go quietly into the base of his thumb,
making holes along his wrist and arm.

Drinking breakfast tea,
he pulls back his shirtsleeve
and sees the one last dot remaining,
a pink tattoo of other days.

He smokes the last of a rolled cigarette,
feeling sure the inside of his chest
is quite certainly all black by now.
He puts aside his mailbag and begins weeping.

At last Lorenzo comes across to his bunk
puts an arm around his shoulders,
and holds on so tight.

[alternate title: Introduction to memento mori]