Five Points, Vol. 22, No. 1


Sample Content

George Witte
The Mortifications

Scars engrave the body’s palimpsest.
Indent near forgotten hairline
the ice-slick step edge bit.
Slash transecting knuckle ridge to wrist.
Lipless kiss of cigarette, and where
you fell or leapt unmoored through air
eleven livid stitches mending skin
if nothing else. A doctor’s ministry
brings gentle knocks and pressings in—
And this? And this?
You parry touch with specious promises
to change, cut back, improve, postpone
what closes in. But deeper wounds
abide, the way a martyr’s blood
still quickens after death,
persuading skeptics to attest:
flesh mortified by human implements
wells endlessly, becoming whole
as broken water gentles in a pool
so no one knows
where pain gave way to reverence,
then let the body go.