Achtergrond

Gedicht van Kenny Fries

De Amerikaanse dichter Kenny Fries (54) las onlangs in Nederland voor uit eigen werk, op uitnodiging van Agnes van Wijnen en Disability Studies in Nederland. Hij is joods, gay en heeft een fysieke beperking. Als kind onderging hij meerdere operaties aan zijn voeten en benen. In het augustusnummmer van Markant wordt zijn gedicht ‘Body Language’ gepubliceerd, met een illustratie van Len Munnuk. Het gedicht verscheen oorspronkelijk in Anesthesia, Poems.

Body Language

What is a scar if not the memory of a once open wound?
You press your finger between my toes, slide

the soap up the side of my leg, until you reach the
scar with the two holes, where the pins were

inserted twenty years ago. Leaning back, I remember
how I pulled the pin from the leg, how

in a waist-high cast, I dragged myself
from my room to show my parents what I had done.

Your hand on my scar brings me back to the tub
and I want to ask you: What do you feel

when you touch me there? I want you to ask me:
What are you feeling now? But we do not speak.

You drop the soap in the water and I continue
washing, alone. Do you know my father would

bathe my feet, as you do, as if it was the most
natural thing. But up to now, I have allowed

only two pair of hands to touch me there,
to be the salve for what still feels like an open wound.

The skin has healed but the scars grow deeper—
When you touch them what do they tell you about my life?

Document