What is a scar if not the memory of a once open wound?
You press your finger between my toes, slide
the soap up the side of my leg, until you reach
the scar with the two holes, where the pins were
inserted twenty years ago. Leaning back, I
remember how I pulled the pin from the leg, how
in a waist-high cast, I dragged myself
from my room to show my parents what I had done.
Your hand on my scar brings me back to the tub
and I want to ask you: What do you feel
when you touch me there? I want you to ask me:
What are you feeling now? But we do not speak.
You drop the soap in the water and I continue
washing, alone. Do you know my father would
bathe my feet, as you do, as if it was the most
natural thing. But up to now, I have allowed
only two pair of hands to touch me there,
to be the salve for what still feels like an open wound.
The skin has healed but the scars grow deeper—
When you touch them what do they tell you about my life?
Body Language originally appeared in Anesthesia: Poems (The Advocado Press, 1996) and is republished by permission of the author.