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Next time you’ll count the scars. There will be more.

Grizzled, you’ll think. Frost burn. It takes time


for me to undress. Stitches hold my gore

in place for now. This pain isn’t sublime,


the sort that shamans use. It’s not De Sade’s

doomsday, either. First time I saw someone


tear at their clothes as they transformed gnawed

at me for weeks. I will be fifty-one


in less than a week. If I come back all

grizzle gray and limping will you confuse


me for the Moon? I can read all the scars

on her face. Can you read mine? This queer scrawl


that spells my fate each time these stitches ooze

fevered flames. Heat that grizzles. Heat that chars.