February 21, 2007

Poetry Thursday - the body knows

Body of Knowledge

I.

At the bend of my wrist
two faint blue-grey dots
memorialize some fifth-grade
school bus tomfoolery:
the tip of a number two pencil
went in and out, twice,
and on the way out,
drew. The eraser wouldn't fit.

II.

At the edge of my hand,
a small raised island
marks the day I learned
just how cleanly glass can cut.
The fortune tellers hesitate
over the spot every time,
but will never divulge
which line it is I cut short.

III.

In the flat pale valley
between my breasts,
a chicken pox scar
from the one scab I let myself
peel away.
Such exquisite relief!
and I was sure I'd chosen a spot
that no one would ever see.

IV.

After the crash,
my head and the car spinning,
the doctor on duty in the ER
dashed upstairs for a tray of finer silks.
He babied me until a gunshot wound rolled in,
so you'd have to be pretty close
to see, just above my left orbital bone,
a tiny section of track.

(Thanks to the women of Poetry Thursday
for their continuing inspiration.
Not to mention the good folks at Thing-A-Day.)

15 comments:

Dana said...

I love this look at your body, and I don't mean that in an inappropriate way, although typing it just now, I realize it might seem inappropriate.

Anyway ... I like how you've broken it into parts, and the mystery of the second part is great ~ although I really want to know which line it is.

Elspeth said...

I like what you wrote. It reminds me of a character in the novel I wrote for 'nanowrimo' who told her story only through her scars, as if they were a personal diary.

n.b. said...

Wow, stunning poems here. You can read a lot of history in a person's scars. Somehow this reminds me of a poem by Cavafy "Body, Remember" that I really love. No scars in it...but some similarity in underlying spirit.

Fragmentsinsight said...

I like the way these are entire stories. It's like drawing a unique map of life.
The origin, where it all started and then the reflection afterwards. Beautiful.

Regina Clare Jane said...

All these little "hurts" share so much- thank you for this. I have one of those chicken pox scars, too!

Colorful Prose said...

I have that same chicken pox scar, too!

Excellent mapping of your body's memory!

twilightspider said...

This is beautiful. It's so easily relatable because we all have these battle scars and each has a story to tell. It's so unique because the words you've chosen are so fine and the conclusion of each section is just perfect.

Natalie said...

You really have been in the wars! You use language subtly and it seems with fondness to describe your scars and body's experiences. Really like it, thanks.

Becca said...

This is such a great viewpoint - each of those scars representing a moment in time in your life.

Wonderful poem (s)!

G said...

This is so well-crafted and told with expert confidence. It's a pleasure to read and imagine.

Remiman said...

Shelley,
Each memory catagorized into a complete body of knowledge. Access by personnal password only...your poem.
Nicely done.

Jessica said...

I love the organization of this view of your body and the stories the scars tell. This feels like a topographical map of a life.

split ends said...

I love how instead of looking at your natural body, you highlighted scars, and the moments around them. I agree that the second stanza is especially strong, and definitely ignited my curiosity.

amy said...

Lovely! I like sections II and III especially.

Mary said...

I loved this 3 part poem. Each experience etched until the body knows, and you are left with a reminder. Exquisitely written. Thanks.