The Secret Life of Scars

Some scars never soften or fade.  
They main­tain a stronghold until they build a life of their own, 
binding pieces closer together than they were ever meant to be, 
making a sticky web so thick no part of you can break free. 
A promise of safety that is really a lie,
but the wounds don’t want to be alone, 
so they grab what they can until more of you dies. 

And the old guard of scars ensnare new arrivals,
convince them this is purpose,
to reach for the breathing, blood-filled bits
and choke the life out of them
until scars are all that exist.

This is how time stiffens limbs and organs,
how our bones and tissues run dry. 
For though scars grow, they aren’t fully alive.
They cannot feel, but can only remember,
cursed to live forever in The Great Before,
holding futures hostage so we won’t have to face the war, 
never knowing the war they wage inside us
is like Midas rendering people rich 
and oh so very still.

We are made to move and breathe and dance,
and we are made fragile all the same, 
And perhaps this is the game:
how many injures can a human sustain
while still being able to breathe, stretch, and love? 
Maybe the scars accumulate to make us a strong enough glove 
to hold the hand of God to move us and move through us, 
for they were shaping us all along. 
And that is the life waiting after all of this death. 

When all our tears are drained
and we can’t feel anything anymore,
something reaches through us to open a door
to a place so bright the light would burn us
if it weren’t for all those scars.

Copyright © 2021, S. Naify

Art: Digital Painting by Bruce Rolff.

Author’s Note:
I wrote this piece once again attempting to make peace with a debilitating medical condition resulting from excessive scar tissue (from both surgeries and toxin exposure) binding various internal parts together and constricting normal movement and function. It occurs to me that emotional scars work much the same way.

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