A VISION OF HELL AT SMITH COLLEGE

There’s a dormitory prank I heard about

in college: someone is asleep; you squirt

lighter fluid under their door—ignite it—

the flames rise up—you yell—the victim

wakes and thinks the building’s on fire.

You laugh a lot at his or her panic.

.

Don’t try this in your home: it’s supposed

to be safe, but I’ve never tested it.

 

plath

 

An alumna of Smith College told me about it

also. The young ladies tormented someone

they hated. Imagine waking in the dark,

huge flames climbing up the door,

a hellish wall to illuminate the sleeper’s

nightmares. The victim was Sylvia Plath.

.

I don’t know what provoked this treatment

or whether it made her feel alienated.

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