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By Alexandra Malouf


My mother wakes
to a flatness on her chest
and thinks of her mother waking
to that same absence       forty years before.
The history of a family
written on the bodies of descendents.

In stormy weather her nerves pulse sharply
in that scar reopened over and over,
where surgeons’ plows left
ragged lines.
My mother’s scar glares cold
with past lives all purple-green.


I’ve heard scars are beautiful,
that when a gash
becomes a scar
it’s no longer painful,
but that’s said mainly
by strangers without such scars.


In my Bible, Mary watches dust settle
in a stone doorway––
and sees the lonely God walk forth
with perfect body. His hands are ugly,
mangled by thick barbs 

driven through bone
and sinew.
He shows his scars knowing     their history:
the history of a mother,
whose scars
are not beautiful.



Alexandra Malouf is a disabled poet and multimedia artist who received her MFA from BYU, where she served as a former Poetry Editor of Inscape (2020-2022). Her work has received the Ethel Lowry Handley Prize from the Academy of American Poets and featured in Prairie Schooner, Pleiades,, and Poetry Ireland Review, among others.