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a cascade of consequences
can tumble from a scar
especially when its story
is unknown

my grandmother had such a scar
running the length of one brow
she arrived from italy with that scar
at the age of 18

i’ve been told that when asked about its origin
she’d say it’s nothing or say nothing at all

when her daughter asked once
(at 8 already aware it was something not to ask)
her mother just kept her eyes fixed
on the meal she was preparing
and said the same: it’s nothing

i never met my grandmother
but i found out the truth
from her daughter (my aunt)
who learned the story behind the scar
years later from a distant cousin in italy

it’s a secret i’m hesitant
to divulge since my grandmother
must have wished to take it to her grave
but when i reflect on how this secret
may have affected her children’s lives
(if only i had known my aunt said)
and the generations after
i think of that day long ago
when a child was attacked
and left for dead in a field
i think of this child’s fright and pain
and of the woman protective of that pain
and how love and trust must have suffered too
locked away in a secret that was
too deep not to share