A sestina for Halloween

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After watching the trailer for the new remake of Carrie, I remembered a poem I wrote eight years ago. After revising it numerous times, I think I’m finally happy with it.

Scar

Her body soothes each wound into scar
but she is never done. Memory
cuts the skin like a silvered worm,
refuses to bow down.
Her fists ache with disappointment
when the razor dulls a moment

too soon. The moment
flesh closes into scar?
More itchy disappointment
until she bloods the knife again. Memory
is carved like this. The first cut curved down
her arm. A documentary of worms

on TV as she squirmed: worms
in her head, on her skin, the moment
grown into a long second spent down
on the floor fighting the urge to scar
more symbols into memory.
She recalls disappointment

that the sting wasn’t worse, disappointment
in the too-small wound, the worm
of blood barely flown. Memory
so thin. She bandages today’s moment
with gauze and hope. She has a dozen scars
now, a hundred—her skin worn down

like hatred. Like love. Down-
stairs he damaged her. Disappointment
bled contempt with her youth, her lack of scars.
Her lack of fear. His fingers worm-
like, fraught with booze. One moment’s
miscarriage into a memory

that contaminates for years. Memory
clots like blood. She sets the knife down,
caps the antiseptic. Breathes a moment.
As usual, the new cut is a terrible disappointment.
She hunts between scars
for an uncorrupted worm

of skin, clean of memory and disappointment.
The razor will slip down so easy—the way a worm
disappears after rain. Nothing left but scar.

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