Judith H. Montgomery: "In Praise of the Scar"



Consider how, breached by blade 

     or flame, the body rushes to repair, 

quick-clot the hurt.  Fibers stitch 


     swift to shut inviolate the gape 

of flesh.  Such fierce haste to mend!— 

     but not what we’d call grace—  


the awkward seam puckers up, cross-

     linked ridge of collagen contracting 

stung flesh.  Each scar an X’d fence 


     of barbs that interrupts the seamless 

landscape of saved skin.  Yet even

     itching, aching—tender to the thumb—


each scar’s a scarlet witness on 

     the body, inscribing its stubborn

devotion:  Harm.  Hurt.  Hurry.  


Judith H. Montgomery’s poems appear in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Bellingham Review, Measure, Prairie Schooner, and Cave Wall, among other journals, as well as in a number of anthologies. Her first collection, the chapbook Passion, received the 2000 Oregon Book Award for Poetry; Red Jess, a finalist for several national first book prizes, appeared in 2006.