My body is a canvas, a cheap painting;
like those sold on the corners of city streets
by greasy men with trailing glances
and women in long, flowing skirts.
Pain speaks from disconnected, angry lines;
red and purple signatures of "not so good" days
when the shaking and the voices wouldn't stop
and the silence became so empty it roared.
My body is a carving, look but don't touch
the claw marks of a carpenter's dull blade.
Unfinished; the aroma of sawdust thick in the air
so heavy and sweet.
Sawed and sanded until nothing remains
but splinters that pierce soft flesh
and cause unwary men to swear and mother's to blush
in the presence of their children.
My body is a quilt, a pieced-together
coverlet of life's pains and joys, stitched
by shaky hands that wipe tears from faded eyes
Gauzy fabric fails to hide bright, flowing veins,
plump with polluted blood,
from a polluted soul,
returning to a heart beating out of time