Rodney Purvis: ‘Lines on an Anatomy, on taking a Shower’


Lines on an Anatomy, on taking a Shower

My mottled, bruised and battered body:
On the left thigh, a lozenge
Printed like a postage stamp—
Or perhaps a cattle-brand.
Below it, scooped, an indentation
From where they took the bcc,*
Now healed and grown over
Like a knot upon a tree.
On the right thigh, a thin, mauve scimitar line
Snakes downwards,
Where they got their flesh for grafting, free.

And my face? I have a new one.
They say you get the one that you deserve;
But mine I think, is not a good one,
Will only add to my reserve.

My mouth is slashed and twisted—
A shark’s sardonic grin;
The face has partly shifted,
Collapsed a little, sliding downward to the chin.
The left eye-lid slightly drooping,
To enhance the face does not begin.

My body is a palimpsest,
Scripted, scarred, tattooed—
Whose messages I cannot read;
A scroll of living parchment
On which the surgeons’ knives
Have scored a narrative of wounds,
That yet may prove
Signposts to the terminal.

Rodney Purvis

* basal cell carcinoma

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