Fall blackened me,
tucking my first scandal beneath my sleeve-
I can still feel it crawling up and down my arm,
burrowing in the space between
my skin and bones
and calling it home.
Winter hardened me,
callousing my palms,
crystallizing my compassions.
Sent my judgments scampering forth
like fire-bellied dragons.
Into the night they unspooled infernal exhales
and returned with a singed squalor
limply drooping from their jaws.
Spring tore it out of me,
ripping my skin
and reaching in
a procedure I won't forget-
my most painful permutation yet.
And now these pains have passed
my lesions learned to heal fast.
But I am not what I once was.