How To Heal

It’s been nine months since
I cut my finger nearly to the bone,
September 2022, the knife laying
Indifferently on the counter as the blood

Gushed across the kitchen tiles, across
Everywhere, six stitches three hours
Later in the Jefferson County West
Virginia emergency room. I was alone

And I have remained mostly alone since,
Grown alone, in October severing
The black sutures one by one,
The scar a bas-relief moon waxing

Pink upon my right index finger.
Understandably, no one especially cares
About a forty-eight year old man
With six stitches in his finger.

We all know he’s going to be fine, eventually,
Applying Neosporin to the weeping
Wound each night after he brushes his teeth.
Still, nine months seems like something,

Perhaps sacred. Delivering. My skin healed
First then slowly the nerves, my fingertip
No longer a numb wooden nuisance
But one morning wholly sensitive

Once more. The body is programmed to
Heal! All of it! Someone once told me
It’s misguided to say that healing takes time;
Instead, it requires process. Intentional process.

Of course I’m no longer talking about my finger
Here—I’m sure you’ve already guessed at that.
Nine months means a birthday. Well, happy
Birthday scar! I was still finding blood far

Into November, behind the toaster where
It somehow splashed, and smeared across
The back of the oven towel rack. But enough
Of all that. I trace the crescent, recalling

Pain that was once real but now no longer
Exists. How can this be? Perhaps I worked hard,
Worked really, really hard!—dutifully, as though
Healing was the only thing that mattered,

Surrendering each endless winter night
Until I awoke one June morning to find
The pain spontaneously dissolved, and
Burgeoning summer just beyond my door.

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