Mariela Lemus

Mundane Scar


Papi reclines on the couch
a dark shadow in the dim

lighting of the family
room.  His finger probes

the shiny skin stretched
like burnt umber smeared

along his sharp shin
bone. He was stealing

bananas to ease
the hunger—green

which made him sick—
when the farmer

released the dogs.
I imagine

my father: bare
hairless legs grip

the smooth skin
of the banana tree

blood trickles slow
to his ankles where the leaves

slice his flesh.
Not even the full moon

penetrates the malachite
canopy fanned

from the tops of each plant.
Flies swarm

at his worn shirt
where stolen green

bananas bulge
in sharp relief through sweat-

soaked cotton.  The humid air
coats his skin, sticky

wet dirt and sugar.
He hears the angered snarls

from the dilapidated
farm house

and jumps from the tree
dropping the fruit

clutched in his small fist.
He sprints for the glint

of the chain link
barbs catch in his leg

rip meat chinks
from his shin as he claws

through the small opening
praying the dogs

be too big to follow
across the road.

No. Papi sits up
examining the fence scar—no.

Not bananas—

really hard to carry.
But now I wonder

if the fence ever existed
if the mark on his shin

might merely be a mundane
scar, perhaps one of the many

moles sprinkled
over his body, removed.

A recent graduate, Mariela Lemus earned her BFA in creative writing from Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN. Her work has appeared in Runestone Journal and The Fulcrum. Lately, she divides her time between working and spending days off eating mint chip ice cream on the couch with her cat. She can be reached at

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