We know them most easily

by how we often know

those othered: scars.


What’s wrong? you ask, & I’m pleased

you notice what I thought I’d hid.


Shall I list some? Coral’s trailing edge

raked hard by teeth. Piano’s flank sliced

by prop into keyboard. Pele’s barnacle dot.


Nothing, I say, noting the spot on your cheek

that’s emerged the last few years.


Banyan’s shredded fluke. Music, Pleats, Venom,

Cajun, all marked by killer whale, by boat, by

what monofilament has cut away.


Our faces, my sweet, are no longer blank

slates, remade each day. At rest, they speak.


I focus the lens. Document the known &

the new. Pink means fresh wound: rope-

made, hull and prop-made, the body healing.


Sweetheart, I’m less interested in those old

marks than what worries begin to mark you now.


I note it all: time, location, association. Is there

a calf? Yes, six months old and already twice

scarred, twice freed. Maybe that young wound will heal.


I hook a bra, pull on shorts, glad for what they hide.

I know my hidden stories. Stretchmarks, sag, scar.


Naked, unhoused, every surface surrounded

by moving matter—how can we know a whale?

Sound thrumming up the jaw to ear, voice


What (not what, but how, tone) did

you say? What are you not saying?


inside the body’s vast resonances. Where echoes

can’t be known, can be ignored, can offer

what we all turn away from.