Photo Credit: Alex Iby

Silver Tattoos

Promposity’s April contest is about drawing hope from this gray time

Paul Alan Aspen
Published in
2 min readApr 10, 2020

With thanks to Natalie Frank, Ph.D. for the prompt and opportunity this month. Read more about it here and join in! This pandemic has dredged up the tremendous fears and put-away thoughts of death and loss I buried when my wife and daughter nearly died to toxic mold in our rented space. Those same fears now echo in the eyes of those when I go to pick up food or my grandparents can’t see my child for fear of transmission.

Already I see that there will be another side — the current time is not the end. The sun will shine though the cloud that currently encircles us. Release fear, even in the case of being caught by the very cause of it. Celebrate survival and the wisdom that steers your choices in this time. We take these measures because there will be a tomorrow, and we want to be there.

Even if we have scars from the struggle.

Wounds survived
leave decorations deep inside
that also show on skin
to those who can stand to see

I lost so much
muscle and time and home
and all the trappings of a life
I loved so much

It came so slow I barely felt it
in lungs, fingertips and brain
while my newborn babe screamed
as I walked her I barely felt it

It came so quickly
the wife I promised to protect
imploding before I understood
mold killed so quickly

the new era dawned
and the sun rose red
with threat and doom
as good news soured

time after time
as disease of body
sponsored disease of mind
time after time

month after month
we lost more and more
time and space and stuff
purging our life

In no time at all
squatting in a borrowed room
on a borrowed mattress
eating borrowed food

getting up early
after waking through the night
to dose and comfort
against internal plague

valor won through
in the end hope was enough
and like Spring plants
we passed through winter

Scars of body hide
but daily, nightly
stricken souls bare scars
now silvered with new strength

as we stretch anew
our moon-stitched skin
as victors against plague
to stand with pride

No longer I — we
Growing — stronger not ill
Finally hiding silver scars
like old soldiers — modestly

I hope you can join in Granolamommie, Sean McCabe, and Squadron-Fire-Hawk-23. Each of you have a different perspective on this disruption, and I’d like to hear your thoughts.



Paul Alan Aspen
Promposity - I help visual designers get recognized by telling stories of their skills in a way clients will understand - courses & writing services for hire