ODE TO THE SHINGLES ON MY RIGHT HIP
You lengthen like a new mother’s
stretch-marks branch, like a bulb’s
fingers reach beneath and above.
You observe the centerline, never
crossing my spine, you good girl.
As a kid I slept and turned on damp
sheets while my brother opened
creaky casements, knocking window
weights muffled behind wood
and a century of paint. He jumped
to concrete below, absorbing
shock into foot, belly, hands
planted on the drive before springing
into a sprint.
You, my personal nerve-end
bouquet, you singe my skin
so I can’t sit, must
wear skirts whose very flutter
scalds. I know I feel
too much, as it is, but you seemed
so hopeful as you blossomed
from that childhood seed,
only to pink, bleed, scab
upon contact with the wind.