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.
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.