Monday, January 24, 2011

Scars by Lyn Lifshin

that one shaped like a 7. Bryant Park,
the first slit in the skin you could see
shaped like a 7. It was at the close
of a reading and I wasn’t ready to give
up my mic for a talk by Governor
Rockefeller. In the bar I saw blood
soaking through my wedge wood blue
long dress, stuck to my skin
from where what they pulled from
me boomeranged. I shortened the
dress 12 inches. Then I was scalped,
or nearly. I wasn’t in any war, just on
the way to meet a friend for a film.
I suppose it was poetry that did
me in: I was mailing some ms when
the car behind me slammed into
the car right ahead into a car coming
from the opposite direction. 250
stitches and my amethyst barrette.
Gone. Mummy wrapped. And I adored
the orchid stone. But it wasn’t until
the white gauze came off and I could see
the jabbed barbwire white on a night a
man I still didn’t know, on a night
of a poetry reading I shuddered at what
looked like a knife fell from space
and I was sunbathing under it. That
scar seemed to glow in the bed
room when we turned out the light.
Now I wear my hair over the slash, may
be why I slammed wildly the treacherous,
sharp slate steps and hacked my shin to
the bone. A machete chop on top of
where a suitcase falling made a blood
trail thru the house, bled thru gauze
12 days. Blood poured thru another hall
as skin torn as if sawed, flowed. The
towel couldn’t stop it. The stitches a scar
on top of a scar, a criss cross, rail
road tracks, a gas explosion. More months
of bandages, salves, adhesives, silver
and adaptic. No tights, no stockings, no
mini skirts, no ballet, not even ballroom.
No skin that looks or feels like skin again.

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