The usual scars




I tried to be cool about it, no tears
at the start when small losses
left minor marks upon my body
civility insists we do not complain

Who does not have failures? Misfires
we wear like weights from our limbs
that happen once, then dog us
I am never alone in this muck we tread

When another incident let blood
I was mortified, staying home
to not leave a trail, don’t
upset people. Don’t remind them

But when some flesh was sheared
from the kneecap and an elbow
where I could scarcely afford it
self-pity set in and I wrote about it

Someone called me poet, and
another brought soup for my troubles
we sat and shared a half-pint left over
from the new year celebration

We sang a song-making up verses
about a monkey and a typewriter
she showed me where she had lost a toe
the year she tried to join a gym

Our songs reached into the neighborhood
as we walked to the liquor store
well into the night, we listed our losses
and we sang a good deal more

of love and coincidence, of kindness
and bearing each others burdens
falling asleep with our feet in the fountain
where someone said we could be healed

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