These lines are the scars I bear
I’ve had them since I was 13 or so
They run along my sides and chest like a freight train pulling earth
And I’ve carried this burden of longing every night
Wishing I carried less
Praying to be a narrower, harder

My hands never built more than the words of faith and friendships
If only they measured up to a warriors grip
Then I’d feel ok
No more hiding

I’m soft, I’m ashamed
Cotton cloth reveals all my sides
But hide the grief of inadequacy

I never like the way I looked
I’m always at war
The battle lines are so hard to hold
And deep inside I know I’ll eventually suffer defeat

Scars born of boundaries crossed and discipline lost can’t be undone
Terrified of exposure but safe in hiding

A mans grief held in a body
Alone in the fear of falling short
Confronts me in the mirror
Skin and form and shame

Irish, Scottish, and Nordic genes
Didn’t bestow a vikings form
And a love of sports doesn’t translate to inherent prowess

But what a gift this body is
Allows my soul to receive the senses
Invites my imagination to observe beauties presence
And lays bare, naked, and exposed, the lessons of pain

As much as I hate this freckled solitary cell
It’s taught me that these scares are also of shame turned to love

Like an oceans embrace I carry your burden too
All surrounding I hold you up
You stay afloat on the waves of my changing shape
Your pain in my heart

In calm or stormy seas
These scars carry
Rising and resting my body doesn’t impose or threaten
It feels

These lines are the scars of love
Of life love, but held loosely
They’ve taught me this love
Solidarity, terrifying and vulnerable
Always aware, never confident or comfortable

This is how I am in a world of perfect objects without lines or round sides
Under the surface- shame and fear
But an essence formed along the way by the resilient tenderness of mercy beyond

Safe, near, seeing, and feeling
These lines are the scars I bear
Not only of my corporeal grief
But of love still learning how to be loved

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