Bruise: A Study

Bruise: A Study


The bruise begs
in purple tones
for you to think
with your tongue,
for you to listen
with your hands
to the tremulous
voice of my skin.



pressed it into my skin, ran into the corner of the counter on my way to make dinner, opened a door in to my shin, let you too close, slammed my finger in the car door, dropped a book on my toe, pushed the baby on the swing and didn’t watch her swing back, had surgery, pinched myself over and over like a pulse, slammed my head against a wall, ignored the warning signs, fell down stairs, fell into you, fell away from you when you pushed, found myself under something heavy.


Run your fingers along it. Here.
Feel the heat radiating?
One way to say it is:
I want my pain to warm you.
Which is close to:
I want my pain to warn you.
The fist-sized knot of color
throbs with my heartbeat
if I lie very still and don’t breathe.
I wonder if I might read bruises
like wood-grain or tea leaves.
I wonder if I would believe it.


Don’t view it from the corner of your eye. Look at it straight on. Not through glass or in reflection, but eye to blue-blushed and broken skin with only air between. Not with the intention of recording in paint or word, but only to see the way it fades in the direction blood flows. Watch the edgesshiftas healing requires. It won’t be the same again. No matter how well it heals.


Like nausea it recedes
into green and yellow,
hints of death and then
renewal. But this isn’t
This isn’t a miracle.This isn’t a returning to.

It is something changed.
Something marked by pain.
This flesh regains the ability
to blush and pale and blush again —
but the nerves and muscle know
what has been.


The wound heals before the colors fade,
the body wants you to remember its work:
hemoglobin produces a red-blue color,
the wine spilled across the carpet;
biliverdin pushes green to the surface,
too easy to say the hint of spring (instead: bile);
bilirubin brings
the color and cry of jaundiced babies;
hemosiderin with its golden-brown,
barely distinguishable now from flesh,
except in the right light
where the shadows fall like memories.