Aftercare

March 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

The first time I went skiing I fell so hard
that one entire side of my thigh turned purplish-black,
the color of eggplants, or of fertile soil in the spring.
I developed strange habits to avoid pain,
sitting with my legs curled to the opposite side,
adjusting the showerhead so the water
only hit healthy tissue. At night
I’d run my fingers over the skin,
imagining that each pulse of warmth I felt
came from individual hemoglobin molecules
breaking down and dissipating. After many nights
the bruise began to fade, receding millimeter
by millimeter, revealing strong, uninjured muscle.
On cooler days I swear my skin still tingles
as if it remembers how easily the blood vessels
beneath it were broken, or how dangerous
my own weight can be, if applied improperly.
I carry each pound carefully. My body is slow
to heal, slow to forget, yet it heals each injury,
intentional or not: black eyes, pierced ears,
broken fingernails. Sometimes I think
that my memories of you will be deathless,
that I will never again be able to loosen
the muscles in my chest and throat, that every
whispered I wish or I want will never fade,
but I know that this will also heal.
Maybe your spirit will pass behind me
as I make coffee, early in the morning.
Maybe somehow, as far away
in time and space as you are,
you are healing, too.

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