The Wart: A Fairy Tale & a Dream



When you wake up in the morning, your nose itches.
When you look in the mirror, you see a wart.

Everywhere you go people glance quickly and look sick.
You hide it with your hand, but it grows.

So you go to the doctor and he cuts it off.
In a week it has grown back, larger.

You wear a band-aid over your nose.
People look at you like a sewer.

Your lover cannot stand the band-aid and leaves town.
The note saying good-bye is written to your wart.

No one remembers your name. You are “the man
with the wart,” “the wart man,” 
or simply “The Wart.”

Your neighbor hangs rings of garlic above his door.
Nothing you try takes it off.

The wart covers all your nose. Women scream.
Children call you “Monster.”  You only go out at night.

The wart breaks up into many scaly lumps.
They spread around your eyes.

A plastic surgeon cuts away your face,
but the roots have reached into your brain.

Warts come up along the edges of the plastic.
They are filling in your ears.

A preacher visits you and tells you to pray.
You take his hands and are born again to Jesus.

The next day his hands sprout warts.
He does not return.

One morning you are blind.
Warts are growing on your eyes.

You can no longer hear so you lie in bed and dream.
In your dream you are a handsome knight.

A princess kisses you and her lips burst out in warts.
You kiss her and all your warts pass onto her body.

When you wake up you are well. Only dry husks
are scattered in your bed. 
You are weak but joyful.

At noon your lover returns, covered with warts.
She has come back to embrace you.


First published in Cottonwood (formerly Cottonwood Review).


Angel with the Book - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Angel with the Book – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

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