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Alex is dressed in the same green t-shirt,
the same blue jeans,
but says he feels like a man.
He walks with a faster stagger and a firmer upper lip
in a chemically induced daze
that he says has changed him.

Alex is dressed in numbers,
varsity numbers from stores that have pre-worn his clothes for him.
His heart is worn, too,
on his sleeve,
but under his skin,
in the form of burn scars and battle wounds.

Alex is dressed in numbers,
each notch on his bed post a new cut in his flesh,
a new salt molecule in the wound,
a new song on his radio.

Alex is dressed in numbers,
every floating geometric shape becomes him
and teaches him about his humanity and
the inner crevices of his own body.

Alex is dressed in numbers,
the paper bank statements that shrink so quickly
stuck together in streamers
and hung over the doorway of each new party.

Alex is dressed in numbers
of girls he will meet and kiss and never see,
whose numbers he does not need
and whose thoughts he will not remember.

Alex bites off the heads of mushrooms
and walks around in that same daze,
no matter the substance that is running through his blue green veins,
and has forgotten how to fear anything
except for that deep-set childhood fear,
the one only Freud and his mother could understand,
of himself.




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