I march in the black parade
a member of the buried-them-too-early club,
the my-husband-left-me statistic.
Darwin’s Dead End—other girls got babies.
I got cervical tumors.
I’ve got a sash and tiara I don’t want,
won titles that no one coveted
and my body is a pirate’s map of scars.
I dug my friends from the ground
and hung them as constellations.
I’m not barren because I can still create.
The men that left I didn’t want anyway.
I came through the fire, emerged in cinders and ash.
My scars are precious jewelry,
numbering the things that couldn’t kill me.
Allie Marini Batts