John Grey – Poem – 6

Man With A Scar
by John Grey

He runs his fingers down
the ridge of flesh
that divides his left cheek in two.

It feels like stale pie crust,
but there’s pride to the touch,
a battle scar from when
he had just his hands
and the other guy
waded in with a knife.

It’s been around for ten years or more
and doesn’t show any signs
of sinking back down into the rest of his flesh.
He was ugly to begin with,
reckons he’s uglier now.
But, for others, it takes the focus
off the rest of his face.
Women seem to like it.
Some even love it.

He’s not a violent man.
For all that old wound tries to say about him,
it was all self-defense.
Mostly, he keeps his fists to himself.
And his violence went out
with the last of his childhood tantrums.

A young lovely,
maybe half his age,
sidles up to him in a bar,
whispers, “How did you get that?”

“You should have seen the other guy,” he says.
She’s unaware
that he’s the other guy.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Qwerty, Chronogram and Clade Song.