Getting Close

Only lovers learn the scars on the bodies
they love and lie by—paled wound or numbed cut
that a suntan or memory can’t hide, spots
of intrigue found on their snuggling nudities.

“What is this?” Lightly intruding, they finger
some truth of accident. “Oh, that’s from when . . . ,”
“And this?” “Oh, that’s from . . . this one’s lead, from Joanie’s
pencil; she poked me. Fifth grade. Hersh.” Words linger

on skin that drapes the deeper bruise. Lovers learn
they’ve come in time belatedly, will wreak
but faint abrasions—claw-marks down the arched back,
hickeys (maroon and florid) soon forgotten. 

Only lovers with ears deaf to first stories
or shut to unscarred tales that no one’s told
flick off the chance their best French kiss won’t be recalled—
themselves scratched from future bedtime’s histories.