Who Shows Up Next

in answer to Rosemerry’s question

When Defensiveness meets Pain crouching
behind you, shining red, bare skinned, seared
by expectation, her shield falls in a clamor

at his feet. She pulls off gloves finger by finger,
lifts the shapeless burlap, leaden over head,
exposes chafed arms and breasts, a heart

beating through invisible flesh. A sacred heart.
Pain shifts to get a closer look. She wants to fold
her arms across her chest but lets them fall,

wedges steel toes against each heel, and
with great effort, births her blistered feet.
The mask is last to go, and Pain jolts

in surprise. There is a hidden eye in her
forehead no mask is built for.
She says, My name is really Honesty.

Even though she is sadly smiling
in her own red skin, Pain cannot
embrace her right away. He blinks.

Tears sting the places they fall.
She waits for salt to do its work.
Sometimes it’s the only salve we have.

2011

One Response to “Who Shows Up Next”

  1. Cfw says:

    Perhaps this be why no grass, no flower will grow near the tomb of my restless ghost.
    Salt in the soil.

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