Aunt Rolla

She had the softest face

She treated it with ointment

She’d had smallpox as a girl

I remember how kind she was

 

She treated her face with ointment

You could see the pits and craters

I remember how kind she was

She would let us touch her scars

 

You could see the pits and craters

They were smooth and rosy

She would let us touch her scars

When we were little children

 

Though they were smooth and rosy

Her scars disfigured her

When we were little children

We were afraid to touch

 

Her scars’ disfigurement

From small pox as a girl

Was explained and yet she scared us

Until we touched her face

 

 

Mark Jarman is the author of 10 books of poetry, the most recent of which is Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books, 2011).  He has also published two collections of his prose, The Secret of Poetry (Story Line Press, 2000) and Body and Soul:  Essays on Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2001).  He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Issue #24 June 2013
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