Body Caustic

Body Caustic
By Mary Warner

The sore is open, oozing.
Itching, I scratch,
Picking and picking
The healing, crunchy scab
Until it’s red
And, again oozing.

The lump is hard, growing.
Touching, I feel,
Testing and testing
The size of the mass
Until it hurts.
Is it spreading?

The spine is tense, aching.
Twisting, I move,
Trying and trying
To make it crack
Into alignment.
It’s still aching.

The bump is tender, bruising.
Gingerly, I stroke,
Rubbing and rubbing,
Enjoying the pain
Of tender meat
As it is purpling.

The pus is green, running
Slowly. I snuffle,
Snorting and snorking
To keep the string
From landing
On my shirt, globbing.

The sweat is cold, pooling.
Recoiling, I pull,
Grabbing and grabbing
The light fabric
Under my pits.
Too late, I’m stinking.

The body is caustic, betraying.
Pointing, I know,
Showing and showing
The reality:
That my flesh
Is worm-food-in-waiting.

October 10, 2005

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