Various and Sundry Poetry

1,000 scratches

That's what we're made of: cracked, chipped, fractured, broken, Jen's elbow, that bruise, the floors of the studio littered, bittered, buttered, bleached, cartilage, upper back, lower, the scar between T6 and T7, 3 inches, 1,000 scratches, all that glitters is not gold, Ricky who drowned when he was 7, I remember, briefly, the news in 2nd grade, and the image of him sucked down to the bottom of the rec center swimming pool, lifeguards tanning themseves to flirtation, where were they, 1,000 scratches, my grandfather, a rumored affair, a divorce, my grandmother's suicide, cancer, the backbone such a tender, rigid thing, and how it holds us, molds us, scolds us. Upright, it says, stay upright. And we do. We do.