Grandmother taught us to hide our stitches
when hemming, darning and tailoring—
her lesson as deep as Mom’s not to shoplift.
We picked out offending threads with grubby little
fingers just as we brought tiny lifted things
back to salespeople, shame-faced and contrite.
We did the same with our skin, hiding the scars
of stitches and cysts, covering the pock marks
of childhood diseases, and composing poker faces
for emotional and spiritual wounds healing and unhealed,
trying to hide our isms, hushing quickly when
“our slip is showing” or we “air our dirty laundry.”
Yet now we learn we must air wounds to mend them,
walk our grievances in upper class streets to create change,
expose the harm to our nation’s soul to remain human
or rejoin humanity. If some of us tattoo our bodies freely,
making art of wrist cuts and face slashes, who can blame us?
We broadcast beliefs and relationships like billboards.
We work as hard to expose wounds as we did
to hide them. We watch them turn to scars and medals
or disappear, marking progress and sealing memberships.
And now I own my grey hair and wrinkles, my gender
and liver spots, my whiteness and color, I learn how
they add to or reduce harm and good in the world.
My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.