Wendy C. Ortiz

Some Scars

He went away to El Salvador the last summer of us,
and I stayed behind. While he assisted in elections with the threat

of bombs, I was spinning loose, taking jogs around the lake
after which I’d have a beer and cigarette. Pieces

of myself were lost around that lake. I pulled all-nighters
and brought a friend home with me after hours of dancing.

It was important that I remove the smoke from the bar
so I took a shower by candlelight, my friend

watching, blowing out the flame. The smoke washed down the drain.
Satisfied, I led my friend to bed, and the room glowed with the undoing.

The instant I met his eyes at the airport, he knew. Like good
radicals, we fought until we came to some arrangement we thought

we could live with. Our life together became one of airport runs
and steamed-up car windows, shouting in bedrooms, sobbing, folded up

on nicked hardwood floors. I came home to a bedroom of confetti:
my love notes turned on me. Loose on my hips, his green jeans

came off for others, often.
Then someone new caught my eye

and I raced toward that new fire with the thorny burrs of old, gnarled love
still stuck to me. Look here: I have the scars to prove it.


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