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When I lurched from the old-timey, baroque-
ass stove, when flame claimed my lashes and brows,

when a third of my scalp went up in smoke.
Odd how our flesh reacts. You say roughhouse

is fun. Hot wax feels scrumdiddlyumptious,
you say, lighting the candle. Suddenly

my scalp’s scars come alive with pink, wet puss
as the skin peels back, as I sit for three

days with open wounds until the Peace Corps
doctor can drive to my post. I forgot

that pain. My flesh, though, still loves to remind
me, in odd ways, at odd times, that I’m more

scab than baroque, that I’m slow at being taught,
that these scars are of the runnyrot kind.


Scrumdiddlyumptious (wonderful) and runnyrot (horrible and painful) are gobblefunk words made up by Roald Dahl for his book, The BFG (1982)