Imperfect Skin

Here is one from that hand-me-down carving knife,

a fair enough serving for trying to slice the meat so thin,

white outline scar of a child’s mountain sketch

crossing nature’s lines for the length of my thumb.

Here is a keyhole blemish to my neck-stretch,

careful gift from the surgeon’s knife-skill,

bequeathed when I still believed in Father Christmas

and knew nothing of such tubercular terrors.

Here are the pale pocks and the milky-mark leg lesions

from rugged rocks, stud-boot kicks and cycle falls,

and here is that other ‘scalpel please nurse’ tragi-comedy

etched in faint chalky heal-stigma in my scalp.

But the true cicatrice may only be traced, known,

in those secret places where something once grew,

where a green leaf of love promised Spring –

where life ebbed from within, or was wrenched from without.

Ted Eames, 2018