There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly whenever they’ve been set down –
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses, when it comes back darker and raised:
proud flesh, as all flesh is proud of its wounds,
wears them as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest –
And when two people have loved each other,
see how it is like a scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.
~Jane Hirshfield “For What Binds Us”
A gaping wound heals slowly,
new flesh rising from beneath and from side to side,
growing thicker and stronger than thin skin torn asunder.
That binding scar may not always be beautiful
but it won’t give way,
held fast and tight
built to last forever.
Like our horses’ legs caught in gates or fence
where gashes meld together dark,
we too have proud flesh —
we won’t forget our wounds
When they are visible
you may see from where my healing comes
and where I remain so soft
and so tender
and so proud.