The scrapes and abrasions of love heal or scab over;
as if small, sharp kitten claws had done the deed
in rough educational play, the markings of the lover
linger, an itch beneath the skin that wouldn't be red
if we didn't continue to scratch ourselves relentlessly,
seeming convinced that spreading the wound will help it heal.
It won't.  It slowly heals itself, until we see
another pretty and urgent game at which to fail.
Families are the same, or more.  The years are a plain
across which failures roam, penned in by our success.
We knock -- and rumor says we have to let us in.
We've turned away, been turned away -- but now it is
a pause (not an end) on a long and stumbling, steady trek,
so busy, hurt and happy, we rarely can look back.

J. B. Mulligan

If you have any comments on this poem, J. B. Mulligan  would be pleased to hear from you.