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The Scar Belt

                                    Steven Wingate

            for TJW

In the picture you smile at me
as I press my head to your red back
and wrap my arms around your naked waist.

My hand floats over the pebbled skin
where scalpels cut a layer off your belly
to cover the spatterings of hot tar
on your neck and forearms:
grafts that never came alive,
but yellowed in sunlight.

After the shutter clicked you put your hand on mine,
told me I could make clouds move
just by staring, holding my breath.
We jutted up our chins and inhaled,
trapping air inside us till the world blurred.

Then we blew out laughing,
forgetting the empty places.
Our skins felt perfect and whole.

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