John Grey: “Birthmark”


You say that, at your birth,
the midwife, in the midst of celebration,
spilled wine down the right side of your face.
It was a fine claret, you add.
The stain never did come out.

Another time, you tell me that,
being two-faced physically,
you’ve done your best
to make sure that your nature doesn’t follow.
You’ve always been honest with me.
Everyone else I know says the same.
Your resoluteness is working.

Meeting new people,
you don’t pretend the birthmark isn’t there.
There’s no attempt to hide it
with a string of hair.
It’s as much a part of you
as your bad jokes.
People laugh at them.
You laugh at your own uniqueness.

Your wife says that patch of purple
is what first attracted her to you.
She hasn’t seen it since.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. Latest books–Covert, Memory Outside The Head, and Guest Of Myself–are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline, and International Poetry Review.

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