I like a woman with scars

by Eleanor Franzen

I like a woman with scars

they give her an air of mystery
this was said to me by a friend’s father,
a man perhaps thirty years older than I was,
his eyes stroking the scar down the side of my nose,
caressing that perfect broken skin that followed exactly the line of the bone.

you need a better story than that
how can any scar-story be improved?
it has already given you this: skin-child, flesh-cradled.
let no one ever tell you
you need a better story.

instead of hurting myself I dream of being found

with red silk lines slipping down my arms like a nightdress
with the mark of the wolf on my breast and belly
with the point of the knife at my throat

scars are history’s sigils
the last time I made love to someone new, I wanted him to see
two thin white curving lines on my chest. he did
and asked exam stress? and I said no
he said a boy? I said yes
and having made myself that melancholy woman,
won the prize.


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