Scar Tissue  (Monica Kettenhofen)

I. Nick

he was radish cheeks on skin stretched,
through puberty he grew four inches
thin white waves rode across his spine
dividing the crayola ocean of childhood flesh

nick the little boy caught my thirteen-year-old heart
now nick the charming, nick the man child,
my lust on rose stationary, in tubes of barbie doll

lipstick and polish, cutoff shorts and tank tops
I would bend, giving view to claim
he taunted me, dared this girl
whorls of our adulthood
in the outdoor classroom of whitefield,
his mother's backyard, we tried smoke

rings to prove our cool, I would have cut myself
to be the scariest, prettiest of them
I had him and his patterned skin
pressed my hand against the warmth

The ocean-divide while I rocked the sea
my lungs burned, I knew then
I would yearn the taste

II. Michael

all bones and long straw hair
he talked for hours, listing signs
of the coming apocalypse

catholic bred, he ate the flesh of jesus
drank the blood, the wine
I would cry out for the father
every time he touched me

we were wild and sinned,
drank to soothe the angst of ourselves
bounced ideas and tequila around
while studying and driving

it didn't last
under his rule, all sins are forgiven
if you believe.  I never had faith
instead of praying, I drank
I would have died of consumption

III. Damon

he wrote sweet sonnets
read out loud with smooth lips, voice
enunciates the words, all moist in the mouth

I am enslaved, the beauty captured
on his pages, I become a wanton,
a queen capable of blossoming into a raven.
scattering across the mediterranean
tear the blue and scabbing my path

he is pale, like elizabeth
like elvira, with swollen lips and royal eyes
sings ghetto rap but cried when schindler saved the jews
we watched these sorts together

passing the pipe to friends, neighbors.
all good will to men, to dopers
I have no qualms with the magic weed
makes a harlot into an angel
all expense paid rhythm-packed
trip from the skies to the heavens

IV. Andre

denim slung from sienna hips,
swaying to techno rave, bass thundered
my heart beat quicker closer to him.

a stereotype, my african prince
my ebony lover, I was smitten
with his hue, with his metal

across his face, in his belly
rings clasped through dark flesh
glint under those disco lights
reflected yellow, blue, red across my twenty-one

year old skin.  I was crazy
for needing, lusting
the X more than the ecstasy
from his hips, his mouth, his dance.
I would have rather had the pill

rubbed my hand until it bled
against the bar, pool tables, the bouncer
because it felt good
my body ached for it, soon my mind,
I was lost to the man and slaved to the high.


patchouli and oak moss scented
flesh made pale by talcum powder
pressed into pores, against her throat,
her long-fingered hands splayed
on my thighs, quivering as I inhaled
line after line of pure white above
my reflection on that mirror.

passing my life with the taste
that drug and her, coating my tongue
burning my nose, it bled and bled

my gothic bitch
black dyed hair, fingernails,
lips dried with the darkest red cake

she would quote aristotle, thomas jefferson,
charles manson while making love
that wooden floor was so cold

the last night I found salvation
her wrists cut, that same darkness stained
across my mind, my nose bled
standing there, watching, watching for hours
I knew she would never scar

VI. James

aryan perfection, he was white blonde
cleft chin, and clean thoughts
not a supplier, but the supply
as pure and perfect as the best cocaine
not stinging the nose but branding the heart

a mouth meant to be stared at
he gave me a high when he touched
with that virgin body, his tremble
never from delusion or consumption

racing through him
I placed my hands against his belly
the junction of his hip and thigh
where the jagged line of some past event lay,
a historical marker on his body.

I felt selfless
for the first time, I wanted to be the giver
I lay claim with this touch
I am the high he lusts

I am the drug.
he is my favorite scar.                  


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