30FOR30 Poetry Challenge: April 7

Week One: Memories
April 7th: Write a narrative poem about a bruise or wound. 

Today’s prompt is to write a narrative poem about a bruise or wound. Note, bruises and wounds don’t always take shape in a physical form. Bruises and wounds can manifest in spiritual and mental realms. What is the bruise? The wound? Who did it come from? Was it self inflicted or from another? What is the story behind it? Have you learned anything? 


Here’s a poem by CM Burroughs:

Dear Incubator

At six months gestation, I am a fabrication born far too soon. My body, a stone
in a steaming basket.

I remember you.


—A black kaleidoscope. Turn. Turn. The dangerous loom of the loom of you.
Patterns pressing upon—me inside. Nothing luminous as my mother’s womb.
This second attempt at formation; a turn.
The nurse slides her wedding band past my hand, beyond my elbow and over
my shoulder. I am 1lb. 12oz. and already feminine. Knowing nothing of it. I am
trying to be clear—

I was first fascinated then afraid of the shapes’ rise from your
darkness. And their growth toward me. I wailed under their weight. My
eyes were shuttered by lids. My skin was translucent; anyone could
see me working.
How can I ask you from inside the poem—what senses did I have so
early…so unformed. I was tangled in tubes (that kept my heart
pumping; that kept my lungs from collapsing; food to the body;
oxygen to the brain.)

You are everything and nothing.

A surrogate. A packaging of half-made sensory detail; a past.

I have scars on my belly in shapes of fish…where sensors tore thin
skin. What a tragedy to be powerless. And yet, I controlled the
choreography of everyone around me (the check of vitals; arms
through the arm ports; my parents’ speech; also, there were
I am trying to tell you something important. About after they opened
you and took me out. I was infected. Could command nothing of my
legs. For years.

The surgeons, thin blades shining into nothing. Imagine the cuts—blood spread
along the lip of each, spilling as my skin parts. Someone bringing cotton to
catch it.

Is it your fault? I don’t know. I was in a state, I’ve explained. I don’t
know what you let in. …Perhaps. Do you know lovers ask about these
scars. Touch these raised scars.

So much has happened. I’m black. I have a dead sister. I love you,
but, and believe this,
I mostly want to talk.

Feel free to post your piece in the comments!



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