by Rachel Javellana

It didn’t help that
he had a port wine stain—
a birthmark like a drink

that had been thrown
in his face—which became
the way he was identified

when his name wasn’t
recognized, or immediately after
like a surname, shyly spoken

now that he was dead,
after being absent
less than a week, total,

diagnosis and induced coma
included. His spinal fluid,
infected, had betrayed him;

we murmured rumors
of fingertips and toes gone black
for lack of blood. He was

an asshole, one senior said,
shrugging. It’s true, like he was telling us
something we didn’t already know.