There’s a magic to scars. I think of the 2 3/4″ line that runs the underside of my wrist. So many times I’ve shown the scar. So many times I’ve seen another’s scar, like my own, shown without words. A flip of the wrist. A nod. I have felt the pain.
The surgery and recovery I know.
Listen to lyrics from song, through poetry, in fiction both imagined and real, and see the scars. The stories do not say I am a scar given voice, but a close listen will whisper the length and breadth of the scar, tell whether the wearer still rolls the wrist to examine, or knows the scar without proving its existence. I know the scars on my body. I need not list them to recall the wound that brought them forth. The scars below the surface? The ones that come forth in writing? Perhaps they are the ones worth probing.
There are those who climb the beech tree to scar her. Old scars and new ones, some hastily made, slips of the hand that take a new form a few inches down, or over. Others, carefully constructed, with a verse that might feel poetic if it didn’t mar the beauty of the tree’s flesh.
New scars have appeared, perhaps carved by a group of young boys who leave bites of styrofoam beneath the boughs. I spied the boys running to the tree one day as I made my way down the walk. When I arrived they had taken their perches, the same, I discovered, as my favorites. That’s my spot, too, I said to a lanky boy with red shoes. He looked at me as if I was kidding until I began talking about the tree in detail, with a familiarity that he couldn’t dismiss. What about this branch, asked another, slender with feet he’d grow into in a few years. Another good one. A third boy, one without a spot, hugged the trunk from a lower branch, unbalanced, unable to claim his seat among the more confident climbers. I said it was my tree, too and they’d have to share. They might love the tree too much to scar her. Or scar her because of their love.
She takes the scars into her skin and swallows. The letters run together, cracking into new forms, into meaningless marks that haven’t taught her a thing. Is she stronger for her scars?