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.