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The Time Around Scars

 A girl whom I've not spoken to
or shared coffee with for several years
writes of an old scar.
On her wrist it sleeps, smooth and white, the size of a leech.
I gave it to her brandishing a new Italian penknife.
Look, I said turning, and blood spat onto her shirt.
My wife has scars like spread raindrops on knees and ankles, she talks of broken greenhouse panes and yet, apart from imagining red feet, (a nymph out of Chagall) I bring little to that scene.
We remember the time around scars, they freeze irrelevant emotions and divide us from present friends.
I remember this girl's face, the widening rise of surprise.
And would she moving with lover or husband conceal or flaunt it, or keep it at her wrist a mysterious watch.
And this scar I then remember is a medallion of no emotion.
I would meet you now and I would wish this scar to have been given with all the love that never occurred between us.

Poem by Michael Ondaatje
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Book: Shattered Sighs