Thursday, February 21, 2008

Poetry in Motion

Like I said in a previous post I am not a poetry kind of girl. However, once in awhile I get it and this piece by Seth Tanner really got to me. He read it at a recent writer's reading night and was kind enough to let me read it afterwards (I am a visual person and needed to see the words) and then gave his permission for me to post it. Seth is my housemate and is the only person in the house who gets up earlier in the morning than I do. We often eat breakfast together and I like him very much. He is very funny, thoughtful and endearingly self-effacing. He also has quite a story as you may gather from this writing.

Time Won’t Heal This Wound

My shins split open wide when I fell on steel diving board stairs. The emergency room doctor couldn’t stitch me. He sewed me up like an eighty-year-old widower patching a hole in his pocket, then hinted at skin grafts. Three weeks later my father pulled out the black, bristly thread. At times it burned; at times it tickled, depending on the force he used.

I flew through the air over handlebars, bounced off the side of a Yellow Cab, defied the laws of Earth and landed on asphalt. I scrambled to my feet searching for my bike before I knew that I had cracked my T-12 vertebra, that pain could be felt beyond the boundaries of my skin.

You were traveling in Mexico when I lost the last hint of your scent on my pillow. Numbness is a feeling beyond which no language can describe. I found refuge in needles, in the arms of other men. Awake for weeks I dreamed with my eyes open. My heart blistered from the impossible pace. I raced to forget you.

To forget meant erasing part of myself. I didn’t realize you were attached to every story and memory. With twice-daily injections I waged chemical war, falling as the first casualty. Surgeons cut me open to suction out rotting flesh, they packed me with gauze soaked in sterile saline, inserted a line dripping with Vancomycin directly into my heart.

Each injury healed over weeks or months. I have shiny skin, a bony protrusion, and puckered flesh to prove it. But with five years and three thousand miles to separate us, I can not pack or sew our wound.

copyright 2008 Seth Tanner