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(04-20-1988 / Dodgeville WI)

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Scars Are Legal. Not Scabs.

When Joe was 9
He had the chickenpox.
Never one to trust his abusive father
Or the dead lips of his mother’s corpse
Inspired Joe.
To ignore his father.
While he picked his pockmarks
Gathered en masse
Atop his thighs.
And his father would scream:
“Boy, stop pickin those.”
But he kept
Picking
Picking
Picking-till blood displayed
A U shaped pattern
Under a microscope
Of obsessive-compulsive-fingernail growth.
When Joe was 22
His father died.
He picked at new scabs
Located where his elbow pivoted
Into acute angles.
Every few hours
Picking
Picking
Picking-till one morning
His scabs didn’t wake up.
He awakened in a hospital gown.
He reached over
To pick his new scabs
But his arm was gone!
He reached down
To pick his old scabs
But his legs were gone!
Standing in the doorway
Was a police officer
Twirling handcuffs
Around his right index.
He said:
“Remember scars are legal-not scabs.”

Submitted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 24, 2013


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