Poetry by Linda Parsons

Love Bites

A southpaw drawn to my left, my good side 

in photographs, until the moment I knew 

better, like all careless love. Better than 

to bend close to his foxy head so soon after 

boarding over the weekend. Better than 

trying to spoon as we often do, taking in 

the other’s bestial scents. Then his canines 

in my cheek, white cold then fire then 

the gorgeous blood. My face a surprised 

welt I knew would scar, the left no longer 

my good side, a fitting gift on my seventieth 

birthday, when the scars I’ve groomed and hidden 

so well erupted and swept their brilliance

across this starry, starry night—because I

indeed saw stars—close enough to gash 

chin and cheek, remind me that in the end, 

no matter the sting, no one’s at fault. Which is 

not to say how I staunched the flow of other 

nicks and blows and rusty nails, strange gifts 

from the unwashed world—all of us furred 

and foolish and bumbling into bruise or wound,

able to show off more reminders that in time 

loss turns to gloss and another line added 

to my smile only means more smile, more 

evidence of love’s dire throes. 

Poet, playwright, essayist, and editor, Linda Parsons is the poetry editor for Madville Publishing and the copy editor for Chapter 16, the literary website of Humanities Tennessee. Her sixth collection, Valediction, contains poems and prose (Madville Publishing, 2023). Five of her plays have been produced by Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.