Chris Wood lives in Tennessee with her husband and several fur babies. She works as a lease maintenance manager for a real estate management company and is a member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild (CWG), where she serves as treasurer.
Her work has appeared in several journals and publications, including Poetry Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, Haiku Journal, Panoply, and the American Diversity Report. She won second prize in the 2016 CWG Spring Contest for her poem, “Thus Your Live Grows,” and in June 2022, she won third prize in The Tennessee Magazine’s Poet’s Playground for her poem, “See Rock City.”
Her work also appears in two anthologies: Adult Children: Being One, Having One, & What Goes In-Between (2021) and Nothing Divine Dies, The Poetry of Nature (2021).
Learn more about Chris Wood at chriswoodwriter.com.
I had a happy childhood, until fifteen, when I discovered boys and their mean ways, deceiving and horny. I wanted attention, the loving kind, the kind I missed from dad, who lived there, only his nose was buried in the newspaper.
My Body is My Journal
I stand in front of the mirror, stare at the flaws, the curves thickened with time, hair turning gray, eyes a duller blue, lips thinner. Each wrinkle, each scar, each ache I feel reminds me of the different seasons of my life. The scar above my left eye. I remember the butterfly bandage my aunt fashioned, pulling the deep cut together from the baseball bat my cousin swung, me standing too close. Or the thin line on my forehead where I hit the windshield, driving too close. The fine lines around my eyes and mouth from laughter with friends and tears of lost love. The slight slump in my freckled shoulders, breasts falling with the heaviness of life, of time always moving, always advancing, presses down, pulls skin, stiffens joints, blurs this page. I move down my body, along my right arm to the faded blue spot in the palm of my hand. Stabbed by a sharpened lead pencil when the rubber eraser hit the metal side under the school desk. To the thick red line, raised above my skin, next to my bellybutton, a mole, cancerous, cut out. The long squiggly line between the toes on my right foot, a prominent blemish, burned with acid to kill a wart, also burned in my mind. To my left knee, a circular scar, fading like the memory, a bicycle race I was winning till I looked back.
Scent of Smoke
A feathered barrette pinned to her hair and braided leather across her forehead, my cousin, tired of babysitting, drags me and my sister to the woods to meet up with her friends, smoking cigarettes, sneaking swigs of Jack, threatening us not to tell. I would beg for a puff, a sip. They laughed when I coughed and gagged. I still smell the smoke – cigarettes, cigars, sometimes the other stuff. Flashes of my uncle, always with a cigar between his fingers. My dad, his pipe hanging out of his mouth, friends chain smoking. I can even feel the draw of the Winston Lights I used to smoke. It's funny what you remember. The scents and sights that trigger them. I watched a video my cousin posted to social media. Her parents, dancing. He has dementia now. The body remembers even if the mind does not. I wonder if he remembers me.
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