The Burnt and the Untouched

The moment I see him

I make up the story of his life,

and the fire that almost swallowed him

in a childhood accident but spat him out

at the last possible second

comes sweeping in from the past

to heat the very air around us.

There’s a girl in line behind him,

and she stares at his scars

with wide eyes,

taking in every brush of imperfection,

every blemish, every fault.

He knows he’s being looked at;

he stares ahead with the blank expertise

of someone who’s been an object

of fascination for years.

I watch on, the perpetual watcher,

as he falls under the gaze of the young girl

whose skin I would not call clear,

but unmarked.


15 thoughts on “The Burnt and the Untouched

  1. Words so clear, I am there with you!

    “the fire that comes sweeping in from the past to heat the very air around us” And I am left wondering about just what has precipitated this event.

  2. My son Peter (Peak) got a terrible burn on his shoulder and arm from a cup of very hot tea he tried to drink when he was fifteen months old. His scar is a harrowing reminder of how quickly accidents can happen to children and how super-careful adults need to be around them.

  3. Natalie,

    How can someone so young feel and express such deep and painful but exquisite emotion? There is only one answer. Artistry knows no age. Simply a gift that you possess- and that you share with all of us.

    Truly beautiful writing here.


    1. Tom,

      It’s so nice to be hearing from you again! I cannot thank you enough for your kind words. “Artistry knows no age” – this made me smile 🙂 I’m so glad that writing is a universal art, one that we can all share without reservations over age, gender, or religion. That communication makes this world a very lovely place to be.


Thoughts? I love those.

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