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I Am My Scars

by Angela Nuzzo

(parts of body noted are touched during reading of poem)


I am here –
because Mommy’s boyfriend couldn’t stand the crying anymore
and he shook me till I stopped.
No one will notice anything wrong
until a doctor questions the hearing loss.


I am here –
because Mom didn’t like the way I made my bed.
When she pushed me into the closet, the doorknob got in the way –
but everyone at school knows that I’m clumsy.

(back of arms)

I am here –
where no one can see me underneath long sleeves.
Hidden from a world that knows
cigarettes should only be put out in ashtrays.


I am here –
because the uncontrollable anger finally broke free
and the bully on the playground had to fight back for protection.

(lower stomach)

I am here –
because when I told my boyfriend “No, I’m just not ready yet,” –
he didn’t believe me and tried to change my mind.


I am here –
still black and blue from Sunday,
when my husband ran out of beer only half-way through the game.

(back of head)

I am here –
because I was trying to run and he pushed me down the staircase.
The certificate said “blunt force trauma” – which seemed to be enough
to finally send him to jail.

(down middle of body)

We are here –
exposed on this cold metal table.
Witnesses to a lifetime of fractures, bruising, and pain.
Laid out for strangers to dissect and conclude,
but what they can’t see clearly
is the obvious broken heart.


Author's Note: This was written for our YWCA's 3rd Annual Poetry Slam to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Posted on 10/29/2009
Copyright © 2023 Angela Nuzzo

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Jo Halliday on 10/29/09 at 10:09 AM

Simply a stunning write!

Posted by Peggie Eng on 10/29/09 at 03:32 PM

VERY profound... but the last line. the scars you can't see the broken heart. I will remember this one..

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 10/29/09 at 05:02 PM

...angela, it should win something, it sure won meheart; m'lady this is the direst clarity of the animal[violence]. totally well done.

Posted by Joe Cramer on 11/01/09 at 05:17 PM

... this is incredible.... I could not rate it high enough....

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/02/09 at 01:16 AM

I really think the dissection in this is most effective, creepy, real, and memorable. Thank you. I count my blessings.

Posted by Allison Smith on 11/02/09 at 06:35 AM


Posted by Tony Whitaker on 11/02/09 at 09:50 AM

Angela, it has been so long since I have seen your name. Reading this reminds of when I first joined this site around 4 years ago. When your name apeeared I would click on the piece and feverishly read your art. This is one of your best and most "cutting". I have missed your words.

Posted by Therese Elaine on 11/04/09 at 12:19 AM

A gripping and raw piece -but still sensitive for all it's brutal truth -a very moving piece...well done indeed.

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