About Pain


There is a small scar under my bottom lip that marks the spot where my lower front teeth stabbed through the skin when I was eight. It was the first time I got stitches. 
There is another one on my upper right thigh that I got from a botched shot when I was five. The nurse and my dad tried to keep me still, but just as the needle broke my skin, I moved. 
There is one on my knee I got from falling on concrete. I remember the sting of antiseptic spray even though my mom blew on the wound to keep it from hurting.  
The iron burn on my right shoulder has faded to a shadow, but I still remember the peeling, the blistering, and waking up in the middle of the night to feel as though I was lying on needles. I tried to imagine what it felt like for my dad when he got burned in the Navy. He had scars that stretched across most of his upper chest.  
My scalp keeps no scars, but I remember the chemical burns from the relaxers. I remember sitting in my closet asking God to make me look like Mulan or to a least give me her hair.  
My skin is a map of pain, of bumps and bruises and scars. Of falling down, of crying, of my mother holding me to her chest and humming her healing into my soul. 
I look at my scars, corporeal and ghost, and I remember concrete, a hot iron, tumbling on the third step to the top, of cuddling my heart behind my binder, of burning pictures in trash cans, of smashing my boot into a painted metal rose, throwing it away, then grabbing it out of the trash to recycle it, of ending a call and knowing that it was the last time, of blocking numbers, unblocking them, of lying fetal under a mountain of blankets hoping tomorrow will be the day I’ll have strength to get up. 
I hum my own healing now. 

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