Scar Tissue


By Alisha Attella

See that one in the corner,
that’s where the earth shook
that time when everything
tumbled down to vibrate
through the soles of my feet,
building hard back
through clenched fists
and fingernail moon palms.

They opened flat and pressed
right there, to let it free.

And the arc above the mirror
from that time when the shower
filled the house
with hot city-water steam
pounded down from
the scaly faucet to wash
away vomit and tears

It was all condensed
soup on the silvered glass
insinuating itself into chalk-gray pores.

The long valley that runs
by the dirty window
split the wall plaster deep
that time I slept with my chipped toenails
hanging in the pooling rain sill,
as far over to the edge of the bed as I could get
and I felt the hard water run
all cool and new over my skin
then down to the boards
praying for the God-Hammer thunder-cracks

to smash all my voices
to the bottom of a heavy glass.

That one over the stove right there,
it bubbled and peeled in the heat
that time it all coursed electric-current
from the screams that hit the wall
feeding a corridor that tracked down
to light the burner all white
and blue until I was sure

it would burn, clean and fast.

But see them now,
how they’re packed
and raised against the paint.
I’ve dragged their rivers
with butter knives and flat tipped screws
pulling up the stink and decay.

I’ve melted the leaden chips and mildew
in the clean heat of a white enameled sink
and sent it back out to the gutters of the sea
so I could backfill their channels,
repair the old windows,
the stove, mirror, and walls.

I’ve left the seams raised
against the fresh surface.

I’ve locked away sandpaper,
paint, and heavy glasses
so I can sit here and
watch the crescent moons
wax and wane on my palms

I can sit here and hear
every drop of rain.

I can sit here and feel my chipped toes
scraping the grain of soft, ruined boards.

I can sit here and smell the ashes rise
while I straight talk every one of my voices
with ankles crossed over stubbled knees,
surveying each wound
in deep admiration of
all the perfect,
mended scars.

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