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Minnemingo Review

      Underneath                                                           Kate Miller

“Our tender bellies all wound around with bailing wire”
–Iron & Wine

When you lightly traced the bare scar on my rib I realized it needed even more time. In the still night, I sat on my bed and pretended like your touch didn’t make me wince. It was useless. You had already felt my ribs shrink away from your fingers, already heard my sharp inhale. The spot had gone too long without touch and this feeling shocked my skin. Though it only claimed a few inches of my torso, the bandage had to be wrapped and layered around the ribcage to hold it all together, in case I moved too quickly and all the insides came pouring out. But this is a well-known side effect. And eventually, exposure leads to healing.

       Then you looked at me and asked, “Where else?” I said, “Nowhere.” My mind changed when I realized your eyes held all the love and kindness one person could hold. It poured from your fingers like a healing balm, so I didn’t try to convince you that you had seen every scar, scratch, gash, and tear. The hip wound was fresh and well concealed. It required the most attention. Raw, bleeding and open— and even you looked away. The mixture of air and touch on an oozing wound stung deeply. I tried but didn’t stop my eyes from watering and eventually crying. I inhaled deeply to breathe through the shock and watched as you knowingly touched the right places, kissed places that were too tender to touch, and helped to re-cover the patches where I had forgotten new and soft skin could grow.