I never thought I was very good at writing poetry. I still don’t. But Anna Jackson has convinced me I should do it anyway. The NZ poet and academic has recently published a wonderful book called Actions and Travels, about the joys of poetry. And the greatest joy, perhaps, is that anyone can write it: “…for someone you love, for an occasion, to express your own feelings, to capture the resonance of a dream, just to make a little artwork you love and want to reread yourself…”

You don’t have to be “good” at it. That’s not the point.

So today I wrote a poem.

Scar

“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”

I consider this quote by Leonard Cohen after my lover is gone

leaving only her scent and

a weakness in my knees, an urge to sniff roses.

 

A month’s worth of scar climbs the rise of her still-swollen belly,

puckering now

like lips ready to kiss

and kiss it I do, to tell her I’m here for it

raised and unfamiliar

under my mouth, just like my lover was

weeks ago, arching and shining and brave.

I try to pucker my lips to

meet with adequate affection

This other-pucker, this usurper

of the narrative.

 

It was never a secret, although her sadness was,

until today –

at this

line break, this

uncalled-for punctuation in our paragraph,

this underlining

of how dismantlable we are.

I would like to tell her

That the dashes and ink-flicks interrupting

my page

are a story seamstress’s delight;

the basting that holds the word-fabric in place

miraculous,

the stitching of flesh different only in terms of fragility of parchment:

 

It all comes together, you know.

And your lover reads you,

and the only stitch that unravels

is the one the story never needed anyway.

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