The Wound

A Poem by Jon Freeland

I long to look at length, but the blemish will not fade.
If any change, it grows ugly in the weather of my prying eyes,
but my curiosity is not satisfied.

I reach for it as a child, in clumsiness and innocence
testing the purity of the wound:
detect no infection, but now it’s open.

The most delicate of flowers – its petals spread wide,
welcoming the wasteland,
loathing breath and moisture, for all that is life stings

and all that isn’t, doesn’t matter; what creates can destroy.
And so, our sincerest of fingernail whims
stand in the way of healing when pain is the stimulant
and fear is not feeling.

How, then, do we know what is alive unless we kill it?
Attention, addicts,
peeling the limelight for citrus rapture.
Catharsis feels like stasis, baseless yearning.
But without vicarious charity, the venerable,
We,
cannot be, living in the disparity of ignorance.
Uncouth…

finally, we’ve found the truth.
Which is the sweetest sound?
The leading tone of which no living ear has proof,
or the absence, without which we are surely unwound?

Suppose that is the origin of curse:
I must always do more, knowing
not all ways can be done. So I toe the line
or sink ships in the dune, where only three things are shore:
death, taxes, and the wound.