Blister

the noun

A disease
of the peach tree
—a fungus
 
distorts leaves.
The first time
I was taken
 
to see him
I was five
or six. A vesicle
 
on the skin
containing
serum, caused
 
by friction,
a burn, or other
injury. He lived
 
on Alabama Street
next to Saint
Peter’s and wore
 
a white t-shirt,
starched and snug.
A similar swelling
 
with fluid
or air
on the surface
 
of a plant,
or metal
after cooling
 
or the sunless
area between
one’s toes
 
after a very
long walk.
Don’t ask me

how it is I
ended up
holding it.
 
An outer
covering
fitted to a
 
vessel to protect
against torpedoes,
mines, or to improve
 
stability. My guess
is that he
brought it out
 
to show me
thinking, perhaps,
I had never
 
seen one
up close,
let alone felt
 
the blunt weight
of one
in my hands.
 
A rounded
compartment
protruding
 
from the body
of a plane.
What came
 
next: no
image but
sensation of
 
its hammer
(my inexpert
manipulation)

digging
into but not
breaking
 
skin—the spot
at the base
of my thumb
 
balloons,
slowly filling
with fluid…
 
In Spanish:
ampolla
—an Ampul
 
of chrystal
in the Middle
Ages could be
 
a relic containing
the blood
of someone
 
holy. I’m fairly
certain it wasn’t
loaded.

Francisco Aragon, "Blister" from Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry. Copyright © 2008 by Francisco Aragon.  Reprinted by permission of Francisco Aragon.
Source: Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press, 2008)
More Poems by Francisco Aragón