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Butterfly Bandage

My four-year-old self was a daredevil. I was fearless. I’d climb trees that were off limits,
visit neighbors several blocks away without telling my mother where I was going, and put dirt in the gas tank of my daddy’s car, because I wanted to “help out.”
One day I jumped on my tricycle and raced toward the street. Instead of stopping at the curb, I kept going. As I plunged into the street, I also tumbled over the handlebars. My chin smacked the pavement. Blood spewed everywhere. I ran back to the house, screaming in terror, sure that I was going to bleed to death.
My mother gave me a towel (cloth, not paper!) to stanch the bleeding, and then put my little brother and me into the Old Black Ford (no seatbelts!) for a trip to the doctor’s office.
“It’s not that bad,” the doctor said, after his nurse had cleansed the wound with stinging antiseptic. “But I want to close it up with a couple of stitches.”
Stitches? I screamed hysterically. No needle and thread in my skin! No way! Even the doctor’s soothing reassurances could not calm me down.
Finally he relented. “All right,” he said, “I think we can take care of that with a butterfly bandage.”
After he cut a piece of tape in the shape of a butterfly and placed it over the wound, the doctor sent me on my way. “Keep that butterfly on for about four or five days,” he said, “and then have your mother take it off. You’ll be just fine.”
My mother and I agreed to follow the doctor’s orders.
Decades later, though, whenever I tilt my head back while looking in the mirror, I see a jagged scar on my chin—the price I paid for having escaped the dreaded stitches.


© 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More A Pantry of Prose #6 at Poets United: “Stitches”

Afraid of the Dark

She hated the night. She was terrified of night. Gibbering things with nasty little voices taunted her: “You’ll never amount to anything. None of your dreams will ever come true. You are worthless. You might as well die.”
Every night the gibbering things whispered their lies. But just because they were lies didn’t mean they could be ignored. Lies are like the fishhook that caught in her palm as a child. Her daddy carved it out with his pocketknife, digging deep into her flesh. The pain was almost more than she could bear, and there was blood everywhere. Blood and pain—like the gibbering lies. No wonder she hated to turn off the light. No wonder she tossed and turned every night. No wonder she fingered her rosary frantically, praying for daylight to come.
But one night, in addition to the gibbering voices, she heard, or thought she heard, another voice, almost a whisper. Well, more like a breath. And the Breath seemed to say: You are the daughter of wisdom and light.
Wait, she thought to herself, am I not worthless? Am I not a miserable excuse for a human being? Shouldn’t I just die and be done with it?
But the Breath persisted: You are the daughter of wisdom and light. You know what is right. In you mercy and goodness dwell.
Was this a trick? Was she just imagining things? She must be. She was worthless, and she knew it, and she was afraid of the dark, for the darkness told her that she had nothing to offer the world but her miserable, wretched existence.
Then she seemed to hear the Breath again: Sleep, child. Even though you are terrified, I am here, and you are safe.
And so she slept. For the first time in years, she slept through the night. And her sleep was good.


Story © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
The poem on which this story is based can be found here: A Voice in the Night
More A Pantry of Prose #3 at Poets United

The cup

The sprinklers go round
and round and round.
You smell the water
as it streams over the lawn
over the flowers,
over your afternoon languor,
over you.
How damp you are!
How tangled your hair!
You undress yourself,
and find that you are thirsty.
Someone fills a cup
sitting empty on the shelf.
Someone fills a cup
with salt and lemons,
setting your mind aflame
with poetry, not prose.
Someone fills a cup,
and you drink deep
and deeper.
Someone fills a cup,
and the cup


Poem © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #130
More Poetry Pantry #372 at Poets United