Poem- This You Will Remember

by Crystal Torres on February 17, 2013

My scars are all memories
I touch them like a sacred time machine
This finger knows the boiling water
that shattered the glass in my hand
The one next to it remembers the fight
I had with my husband
while I was trimming back the mint
My wrist holds on to the time
I tried to cook for myself
home sick and homesick
in my first apartment
away from home
Long before humans could write
phone numbers onto the backs
of our hands
We knew how to read scars
like post-its seared into our flesh
saying, “this you will remember.”
You will remember this

I loved a girl long ago
It seemed only natural then
that we should go to get our flesh
punctured, ornamented, pierced
Each of our bellybuttons skewered
We left so high
on our youth
on another pain survived
we didn’t think to read the color
of the traffic light
walking straight into
the intersection at Market and Castro
I took my ring out when I was pregnant
But I still have the knot of scar
marked by my skin that does not stretch
above my bellybutton
above my first scar
where first I was loved and nourished
We all come into the world
already marked by that first relationship
already knowing
love is a scar
this you will remember
You will remember this
I got the impression in my youth that girls are not supposed to want to have scars. Han Solo was all the more dashing for the scar on his chin but every time I picked at a scab or scratched at a chicken pock I was told not to do that or it will leave a scar, as if the threat of scarring were somehow going to have inherent value to a skinned-kneed tomboy like myself.

I’ve grown up, in that I like kissing boys now, and as much as I may want to be pretty, to be desirable, I still love my scars. I love the scene in Jaws where the two men compare scars. I think falling in love is supposed to be like that. I don’t want to go on first dates where we weave some kind of resume through the small talk. I want to roll up our pant legs and show each other our scars and peel back our defenses to tell each other about the scars that don’t show. That’s the stuff that matters and it’s scarier, because once they’ve seen your soft underbelly they can wound you there, but that’s how living is. Risk is how you make the moments worth remembering and I want to remember, I want my life to be memorable. That’s all.


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