When I was smaller
I would strap metal plates with wheels —
Onto my dusty old shoes.
Go outside and skate
Fast as possible on those
heaving, uphill, downhill
uneven, shifting, rivers
I would fall into the rivers.
The wheels would get caught in their current.
And I would tumble,
knees falling onto the rocky pitted surface
of their banks.
Scarred kneecaps were my badge of freedom.
Scabs so thick they mirrored those river cracks
like Narcissus imagining himself.
I’d pick them off.
The grownups never stopped yelling at me.
“Stop it! You’ll get scars! They won’t heal!”
But I knew deeply, even then
No scab could cover up the scars already formed inside.
And these scabs — formed, picked, bled, re-formed,
re-picked, bled, hardened, thickened —
Reminded me that freedom came from falling
And healing came from bleeding
And being scarless was the ultimate impossibility.
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Huge shout out to Nanci Arvizu who is hosting my poetry audio readings on her podcast, where you can hear me read the above poem live. This is an exclusive free service to members of Garden of Neuro. Wait for a few seconds for the audio to start up.
Susan B. is a serial entrepreneur, writer, editor, poet and ship captain. Come find her in the Garden.