This poem was written in a poetry class at University of Maine Farmington’s annual Longfellow Young Writers Workshop.
You are pink and fleshy, hues of salmon, a divot which mars my kneecap
You are the creation of river rocks and clumsy footing
Off balance footing, I would never make it in the circus
Big top, red and white
You are a reminder of the last day laughter filled my belly and crowded my bones
Why don’t scars go away?
Why don’t scars leave, like people so easily do?
Mid-September air stung at my skin, prickly sensations scattered my bare ankles
Jumping from brinded rock to brinded rock, he was only a few skips ahead of me
All was below me and with a thudding sound and splashing of icy water
I was below all
Smile still strained, uneven teeth continued to show
I was happy and I was red and the water too was red
Why didn’t my smile go away?
Spindly shaking fingers were held out to me and I was back and standing
On five dollar flip flops, legs shaky and knees shaky
Right knee shaking
This the last time our dead skin cells collide
Meshing and melding like seemingly close galaxies
After that Tuesday there were no phone calls branching into 2 am
You had still not introduced yourself yet
Come Wednesday our weekly trip to the dingy pizza parlor on the end of South street was abandoned, old habits rotted effortlessly into the ground, leaving its bones exposed
Thursday passed and the flowers he had given me began to die
I looked down to my right knee and through the bandage I could feel you growing
You were born into a harsh environment and endured when I knew I could not
Sunday night I sat alone in my bed, amongst pillows and sheets and linens
Pink rimmed glassy and jaundiced eyes wanted to look anywhere but down
I needed to look anywhere but down
Yet there seemed to be an anchor which tied itself to my chin
There you were
Why don’t scars leave like people do?