Man, Revised

by David B. Prather


There’s a change in his gait,
the way he favors his left foot
after years of dominance
in his right. He’s been hiding
strands of gray under a shade

similar to youth, which is a correction
upon a modification.
He’s had parts removed and replaced
with reasonable facsimiles,
not that anyone would notice,

though you might catch a little less
luster in his eyes. Though
you might sense a falseness in his smile.
There are new connections
in his brain, new pathways

to navigate the labyrinth of the past,
new rivers flowing to oceans
full of yesterdays.
Obvious to everyone are the scars—
a few on his chin from learning

how to shave, a couple on his back
where a surgeon rebuilt his spine,
and hints upon his wrists
to commemorate a sorrow that lingers
even today. There’s a new freckle

on the back of his hand
he says reminds him of someone
he will mourn the rest of his
life, which is another word
for the body’s transformation.

David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag, 2019) and Shouting at an Empty House (Sheila-Na-Gig, 2023). His third collection, Bending Light with Bare Hands, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press in 2024. He lives in Parkersburg, WV.