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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.