Trust In Love – James Gallagher

Disconcerting

 

The discussion concerned membranes, lesions,

reconstruction and even skin grafts.

I never realized as a child

how important an organ my skin was.

Brain, heart, lung, liver got all the attention.

All I needed to do was eat right.

Who knew that all these years later

it would be hours by the pool

that would cause these lesions,

these skin termites.

When I was 13 I fell asleep

in a blazing August sun

and got “sun poisoning”.

At least that’s what Mom called it.

I lost three days to hallucinations,

fever and de-hydration.

My bed had become a raft

bobbing on a sea of writhing vermin.

The beaded eyes of the rats and the venomed fangs

punctuating the waves as huge centipedes weaved.

I remember my fingers trying to hold me fast.

If she hadn’t sat up with me

feeding me ice chips,

cooling my body with alcohol rubs

and treating my red, blistered skin with Noxema,

they say I might have died.

The small pain of the needle jab.

The pressure of the scalpel.

But most disconcerting is the smell

During cauterization.

I can smell

my own flesh burning.

1/29/96

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