The Burn by Rae Spencer



The Burn

Who could remember the scald?
Too small, too young
Too infant for remembrance

Four older siblings recall
Four different parts of the tale
Our Mother remembers it all

My memory starts with the scar
Sprawled across my foot
Tentacle deep in tissue
Nerve beyond any sensation
Everything prone to sunburn

It could almost be a joke
If it had ever been funny
For any of us

For any at the supper table
Who witnessed how long
My infant arms would reach

It could almost be a joke
To be forever marked
By pot-pie
Deep and deep and deep
The burn scarred skin and more

A tendon, thick and pulled
Right foot duck, left foot not
And Mother fought that turn

“Straighten your foot…
You can make it right
when you want.”

Which I could
So she never understood
As mothers and daughters never do
In the heat of nest-leaving
We never understood

Why I tolerated my awkward turn
Why I let my scar, or any burn
Pull in a direction

That angled away
From everything
She saw in me


Rae Spencer

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