They’re angry and red at the start
After the stitches have been removed
That’s when they start to form
Still feel raw and brittle, vulnerable
Like the tiniest knock
Is going to open them again.

So you protect them
Look after them
Put the magic vitamin whatever it is ointment on
To help them heal.

And it works
They fade to a bright pink
To a light pink
To an almost unperceivable pink

And after that, you can look at them
Remember the pain that led to the scars
The pain while the wound was healing
And reframe them into something else

Something from your past that you recovered from
Not relevant now,
Because the skin looks so healthy
New and pink, almost better than the unscarred bits
And you can sigh, or celebrate about
What those scars meant
And what you recovered from.

And it’s easy
To forget about the scar tissue.
I mean what’s that?
That’s just the body repairing…
So the tissue left is different
Than virgin skin?
It doesn’t matter,
That just makes you stronger right?
Because scar tissue is stronger, tighter, harder
Than regular skin

And…it also goes deeper.
But if the wound has been declared healed
And it mimics healthy skin so well
Those anomalies hardly matter
Because you recovered
You passed through it, worked through it
Or numbed your way through it.
However you did it, it worked.

But the scar tissue is not something they talk about
Yes, you may have healed well
From the cause of the original scar
But scar tissue is not the same as virgin skin
In it’s hardness, in the way it forms
It doesn’t function
Like pure unaffected skin
It’s purpose, function, and weaknesses
Are unique and in some ways strong,

They have the capacity to flare up
In the most unexpected ways,
At the most unexpected times
Even though, for all intents and purposes
They are healed.

They can develop
Harbor infection
Open up
And cause pain
Pain that somehow (whether it’s scientifically factual or not)
Feels worse
Is stronger, more potent, more filled
With the fetid puss of infection
Than the original incision was supposed to
Sort out.

They don’t tell you about that
Well, usually, they don’t anyway.
That you’re not just living with a scar
You are living with a potential
Time bomb
That will jump up and bite you
In the arse, or the groin, or the heart
That you never saw coming.

And then you have to work out how to deal
With the rogue scar tissue
That you thought was just that
Merely a reminder now of surgery
To the body and/or soul
Yet it’s back

Wanting to go another round with you.
And unlike in the movies
The sequel is, so often, more powerful
Than the first.

– Judi Reed, 2015