The Scar

By George Bilgere

Featured art: Mathew Brady Studio

My son slipped on the concrete
by the pool and smacked his head.
Blood cauling on his small shoulders.

The doctor stitching him whole.
Three years on, after a haircut,
the scar still rises, a quarter moon
a woman will ask about
as they lie there one night,
her fingers in his hair,
her voice in his ear, the secret
delight of him—a bit
like burnt toast—in her nostrils
as she takes his strangeness
into her. What she won’t know
is how the frail, Phidian skull
I held that day in my hands
resounded on the hot concrete.
It echoed all summer, less
like an egg cracking in a bowl,
or a world breaking, than the wild
knocking of love against my heart.
Dear girl who will one day win him,
that part of the boy is mine.


George Bilgere’s seventh collection of poems, Blood Pages, was published in 2018 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Sewanee Review, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Bilgere teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

Originally published in NOR 28

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