Ode to Scars
The scars on others’ faces draw me to them.
I wear none significant on my face
though an eight-inch one on my chest
is still a welt where it was opened
and closed four decades ago.
A student in my office once: small white quarter moon
on her lower right cheek.
In the institutional light
it was a pearl in three-quarter eclipse.
Praise her scar: for she earned it.
Praise the man whose forehead fell on his shovel
before he finished digging his own grave.
They shot him, thinking
it was deep enough. It wasn’t. The shovel
led to the murderers, who hanged.
Praise the scar there unrisen.
Praise the lug-nut slingshot scar
my uncle wore on his forehead: it allowed
him many stories and, somehow, lumbago.
Praise the scar like little railroad tracks
up the back of one friend’s head,
and whatever minute scars—on the child,
her mother, and my friend—the surgeons left
when they worked to bring my friends’ child to the world.
Praise all scars, which, by definition, reveal
that something, one thing, one