In the process of beginning to upload past issues of The Cutting Edge Iâ€™ve been looking through the old issues. Iâ€™m always touched by the poetry, prose and artwork that people sent over the past 18 years. Iâ€™m glad that the newsletters will now be available through the web site (some are already posted, more will follow; each has editorial, contributor, and review sections).
Several different poets sent in poems that they used the same word to title their work. I remembered this when I came across one of them. It is titled â€œBattlescars.â€ I have been moved by each of the poems with that name and am reprinting one of them here for you:
I lay my fingers tenderly upon them
some fine and white with age
some tanned brown, smooth and flat
Some raw. Raised. Angry.
Too new to be at peace with being.
I have been asked if I feel shame
over their being.
Does the conscripted soldier
feel shame over shrapnel wounds?
Remnants of past savages.
My battle scars!
The undeclared war rages on
At times, the desire to abandon the fight is
I am often dizzy from the wrath of the battle
Unsure of which direction leads us upwards
Conscripted to be part of this torment
Rightfully ensnared by the Furies
In the pale lull between skirmishes
I find reassurance in these fine lines and jagged squiggles
which bisect my arms, crosshatch my abdomen
Each one evidence of blood spilled into the swirling spiral
But each, too, evidence of a battle won
not without costs, but not without compensations.
This poem makes me think of all the different reactions both I and other people have had to the scars on my body. Mine are still noticeable, though much more faded. I havenâ€™t needed SIV in many years, yet the scars are still visible. Sometimes Iâ€™m aware of them and sometimes Iâ€™m not. On occasion other people notice them. Some ask questions, others just back away a bit. There are times Iâ€™ve answered questions directly, other times I simply lied. Iâ€™ve always wondered why some people feel comfortable talking to me about the scars even though Iâ€™m a complete stranger to them. Itâ€™s an interesting discussion Iâ€™d like to have with you. What are your experiences with scars? How do you feel about them? How do you feel about the scars of others? How do you respond to people who look at you or talk to you about scars? Letâ€™s talk.