You left your mark on me, the bruise
purplish and dark. In time, it faded.
I want to say it was variegated or
mottled or resembling the press
of a brush barely dipped in Tyrian.
Pointless, really, to give a bruise
so much weight. Leave it alone.
Let it be just a bruise on my neck.
Bruises fade. This morning, as I
walked the trail by the beach, the ice plant
was starting its change, the fibrous leaves
dense green turning pale and then purple.
You understand, right? Things like this
prompt the gears in my head to start
their labor. Again. Memory needs
no such decoration, such labored desire.
What I am trying to say, what I want to say
is that I think of you at the oddest times.
The ice plant, the bruise you gave me
so long ago? Unnecessary. Work.
I have spent a long time with pen
and paper, and even now I am tentative.
Who doesn’t love melodrama, sentimentality?
Love is fierce. Love is brutal and fierce.
Let me remember that. Let me forego ice plants
and bruises, sand turned weapon by the wind.
I have hidden behind the beauty of metaphors
for too long. I have been hiding for far too long.
—C. Dale Young
(appears originally in Maggy)