Proud Flesh

(Homage to Jane Hirschfeld)

Babies are boring to me

I’m aware it’s an unpopular opinion

I don’t thrill to the beauty of youth

Who cares about clay before the sculptor touches it?

No one goes to prison for the theft of young diamonds

It’s time and unimaginable pressure that makes gems

And seemingly endless irritation that forms pearls

Scar tissue may be beautiful

A map of triumph on our skin

A host of medals, for our courage

But young scars are open wounds

Bravery sounds better told in past tense

I miss my gall bladder and original esophagus,

my shoulder before two surgeries had sliced it back and front,

my ankle with its whole connective tissue,

and the bones in both my feet in mint condition, no titanium or screws there at my birth

I don’t remember my breasts or hips before the stretch marks,

or my arms & legs before the scars,

I don’t like my earlobe, torn from an old piercing,

and one tattoo you’ll never see, I got while drunk at 22

But if I believed in heaven, if I got there, I wouldn’t look 20

I earned every inch of skin I wear today

Though I’d hope it wouldn’t still hurt to have them

I like a happy ending for my heroes

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Author: skaplanolmsted

I am a writer, artist and servant to feline overlords, living in Portland, Oregon with my writer artist husband Marc Olmsted.

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