Stained Glass Scars

It’s national poetry day, and I don’t think I’ve put this one on my blog before…

“Stained Glass Scars”

Her tattoos tell a story
She tries to keep them covered up
Lest anyone connect the dots
Disconnected, interwoven, overlapping
Words, pictures, symbols
Painted across her body
Fragments and fractiles
Outward and visible signs
Of something inside
She has no name for
Each mark, a memory
Early attempts at teenage rebellion
One to shock the parents
One from that Spring Break trip
One from the summer job
One from that time down in Dallas
One from that weekend she still can’t remember
One for that guy she met
And one for when he left her
Broken and alone
One by one by one
They all add up
But do they equal anything?
She had to wonder
As she wandered
The empty, unnamed streets
In search of something
She’s still looking for
She once heard about this guy
Pierced and scared
Maybe he was like her
Maybe he could like her
Maybe he could unravel the artwork
See past the cutaneous canvass
Of stained glass scars
To that place that can’t be covered in ink
Once she tried to meet him
But the stares she got
Let her know she didn’t belong
Might have been the hair
Punk rock pink
Didn’t match the muddy browns
Betrayed by silver roots
She sort of suspects the guy she was looking for
Wasn’t really there anyway
There was a cool looking cross on the wall
Sort of like the one on her shoulder
Maybe someday someone will tell her what it means
Frankly she’s too scared, too scarred to ask
Do I finish this piece like a comeback story
Where she finds Christ in all his glory*
Or do I make it a tragic tale
Convict a church that often fails
Maybe I leave it a mystery
Leave the answer to you and me.

(*Note: the “comeback story/glory” line is borrowed and rearranged slightly from a song by The Hold Steady called “Charlemagne in Sweatpants“, written by Craig Finn. Craig, I think you are awesome, please don’t sue me).