Poetry - Dropping Balm, The Absinthe Literary Review

by Barbara Fletcher


I want you to touch my body as vellum,

let your fingers flutter over bone,

travel the rises and depressions of rib-ridges,

interpret the bumps and ripples of skin,

the raised lines of scar-script

that have become Braille.


These marks are a history of leavingó

an exodus from my body. These grooves

that stretch across stomach and abdomen

in delicate, curved arcs and shining lines,

these purpled shadows and globed nubs of skin,

are the indelible disclosures of absence;

they mark the departure of organs,

children, and blood. Of the pieces of me.


Eye for an I

The slap of my skin on skin

interrupts sleep but continues

the dream. I half-wake to the sound

of my fists connecting precisely

with muscles and bones and teeth,

the echoless thuds of hands slugging

something surrendered.


And I am seven again, appetite

whetted by semi-conscious fantasies

of punching Vicki until

there was more blood than skin:

face swollen, bones snapped

her body a throbbing

passive purple welt.


But what I really wanted

was five minutes of

her eye in my head,

her tooth in my mouth.

© 2003 Barbara Fletcher

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