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ISSUE:  Spring 1996
I think of the scars as a badge of honor
proving I have lived through the simplifying
of a great misfortune.
I am thinking about simplification.

I am thinking of changing my skin
from the outside in.
I am trying to think about words
as jars that have come through the fire.
I will consider
the scarification of adolescents
and the tattoo meant to protect
from disaster.
I consider that the scar you choose is better.
I will think about the tattoo
on the lips
of Maori women to show they are married,
the belief in the hearts of Ainu women that
without the tattoo
the devil with a blazing sword will scar them
after they die. Better the scars you choose;
tougher than skin,
they might be jewels, a carapace on flesh, scarab
of bloodstone, intaglioed carnelian, rosy quartz.


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