(Written for the prompt about scars, interior and exterior ones)

On my right knee there’s a thick, even scar from back when I accidentally

kneeled on the rim of a metal candleholder. But I tell everyone

that it’s from playing soccer–which isn’t too far off,

I did get slidetackled once hard into my kneecap, though the gash faded

quickly with no reminder of the pain. I think it sounds tougher

to claim it came from playing sports

than a stupid accident. Another scar on my elbow resulted from running

up the stairs too fast; I am impatient in almost

all things, and still haven’t gotten the hang of gravity

in this grown-up body.

But most of my visible scars are dappled across my face, shoulders

and chest, the pockmarked legacy of bad genetics

and persistent acne. It never seemed fair to me, that I

thought like an adult at age 13 but still suffer

through the adolescent embarassment of broken,

reddened skin. Isn’t middle school painful enough without your body

rebelling against you?

Yet even the worst of my scars are fairly harmless, no appalling stories beneath

the surface. Within,

go within, and find the wounds I’m too stubborn

to reveal unless turned inside-out

X-ray vision showing scabs and keloids in the interior: the time

my mother questioned whether

what I felt was valid, whether she’d inadvertently

made me become ‘this way’ by letting me play Legos

and male-dominated trivia games, leaving a dark hole of betrayal

between the ribs; or the half-healed gash frighteningly close

to the heart, that appeared when a storm ripped

apart the foundations of a whole city and then, abandoned on top of roofs and inside

broken buildings, thousands thirsted and cried–was it

so difficult to send help

so easy to let them die, the forgotten and those rejected by

what is called society

(doesn’t seem so civilized to me, in the light of day)
then there’s the slight sting down my esophagus every other time

I drink alcohol, reminds

me I shouldn’t let this become a dependency

but I’ve been too long forlorn and too often

alone, to wean myself off entirely. These

are the scars I carry inside

they hardly ever rise to the surface and

I’m lucky, by all rights, that the worst wounds I’ve endured

have been transparent or temporary

my skin heals fast, and within a season

furious red scabs fade to cool bluish bumps, but what my memory

contains goes much deeper than the surface

and I won’t forget

no I won’t forget

the impressions you’ve left on me.

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