That winter a dog bit my hand. The wound, violent. I was studying cosmology. Everything began with heat and density. I didn’t know how to be happy and didn’t think I could learn it. The dog’s collar had a rabies vaccination tag but the animal didn’t look loved. Billy said lost animals aren’t random, they move in circles. I washed the wound with Fast Orange in the bathroom of an auto body shop where we used to go for free coffee. This was near the end. It was ten degrees outside and we’d already run through my tuition money. Years later, after the bite healed, when opening certain institutional doors, a memory of pain would climb the nerves of my arm and grab the bone. The college had no address to send my letters. Trust issues, the social worker said. I didn’t believe her. Billy checked himself into the hospital wearing his dead sister’s coat. Icicles hung from electrical wires in the park. I used to run here, circling the path under the trees. My breath would smoke in the cold as I held the freeze back with my youth. But then it was just my pulse that raced, a heart inside the festered bite each time I used. Gas station parking lots, trains, empty classrooms. The alley behind White Stag Records. My knee would go like a tattoo gun, and everything would flatten out, roar off through a tunnel of trees inside the dark matter of my veins. Billy kept telling me his dead sister would have wanted me to have that old fur coat. His sister loved the coat. I didn’t have many clothes by then. I started wearing the coat when I would visit just to make him happy. But then I wore it all the time. I didn’t know what animal the coat was made of. It was the color of my own hair. Billy said he’d been a nightshift watchman, a taxi driver, a digger of graves before he was in the band. He said he had a daughter in Seattle. None of this was true, he was a junkie. He said: Tell me about heat death again? How when we look into space, we look forward and backward in time. Billy said he loved me. I didn’t know I was afraid to die. Through the window, somebody’s radio kept switching stations. Old songs, new songs, songs I’d never heard before. The Washington Monument was a needle piercing the dark. I woke up again somewhere in time and there was ice in my hair. Ice rimmed my nostrils where my breath had come and gone all night without my knowing, all that time I was dead and not born. This was after the college took away my keycard. The headlights passed, the coat between my back and the brick wall of an alley. The shape of an animal in the flashes. Long, brittle legs: a deer. The bite stiffened. The hospital was near the park. Even when there was no reason, I couldn’t stop going back there. I started to feel dead whenever I saw the runners making laps, whenever I saw women holding things on park benches. Books, babies, grocery bags. Women who looked like my mother.