Carnal Knowledge

by Richard Taylor

I want to see the wounds I’ve dealt
and show the scars I wear.  I would point out
the faintest outline of a footprint
on the left side of my chest, a misshapen
right ear, the cuts where new body parts
went in for those worn down
by heat and mileage — an eye for the one
that blurred the truth, a gland playing host
to uninvited guests, a hip from the swift, relentless chase
of exquisite phantoms, mesh for a stomach
lost to battle.  I’d have you notice
my gait occasionally reticent with its sum
of trivial retributions, my nose
gone west like a weather vane
put out of joint by a furious storm.

Look at me, I’m not exactly
the furry prize you get for knocking over
a pyramid of wooden bottles at the fair,
nor the sinewy giant in the mind of the damsel
planning her distress.  But I do not
hide nor blush, and I will heal
each stroke you have endured until you too
no longer blush.