I pull out
my patched I

There’s a new cut in it,
bleeding gently, persistently

I try to suture it,
but the stitches hurt more
than the blade — that blade
made a clean, sparkling pain,
a sudden fizz, a breath-catch —

I try to anaesthetise,
but numbness is unthinkable,
terrifying, now,
after that blade

so I give up and leave the cut to bleed.
It’s the first time I’ve tried
this. The cut will heal
in its own way — slowly, I suppose,
with multiple levels of soreness and aching —

ooze, bloom, branch, become
a structure, an unlikely sculpture —
antler, feather, delta, twirl-twig tree-limb —
fascinating, unmatchable, gnarly, unpredictable,
lovelier than fractal —

grown from an old carved name,
traced and tried by many hands

First published in my chapbook q finger (PressPress, March 2011).