An open wound,
I ached and shuddered
and never quite raised my voice
above a murmur, and somehow
I thought I could heal another wound
that gaped wider than myself

and you can guess the ending –
we soothed the burns for an hour,
before they surged back with a smoldering roar,
so I shrunk away from the burn and swore
that I would never face the flames again

until one night in an upstairs room, someone
laid their hand on my back
and I realized they had not been burnt –
or if they had, they had healed –

there were four of them,
who spoke so softly,
but I heard every word and they would not stop
until they had heard mine
and wrapped each festering sore
in white linen
and if you looked today you would only see
a faint scar, a deep breath
ready to breathe another,
a whisper of a wound to heal another