Harvey
Taylor


harveytaylor.net

 
A Scar With A Story To Tell
One terribly-hard winter in the Arctic,
an Indian woman and her baby
were left alone after everyone else
in their camp had starved to death.

All alone with just a fishing line,
and a bone fishhook—
plus a powerful will to survive,
no matter what it took.

The woman walked a long way to a lake,
tied the hook on the line, but had no bait;
her baby was crying, she had to do something—
so she cut a strip from her thigh.

All alone with just a fishing line,
and a bone fishhook—
plus a powerful will to survive,
no matter what it took.

Yes, she fished with her own flesh,
and eventually caught a jackfish,
which provided not only several meals,
but also guts to use as bait.

And so it went; they stayed at the lake,
living on fish, until Spring,
when they set out to find
the rest of their people.

The wound on her leg,
had healed by then,
and the scar, like all scars,
had a story to tell.

All alone with just a fishing line,
and a bone fishhook—
plus a powerful will to survive,
no matter what it took—
no matter what it took


(Adapted from The Writing Life,
by Annie Dillard)