Flesh-Colored Thread

A large collage decorates a wall of one exam room at the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco, Calif.
Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News/NPR

The doctor finished his final prick and pull before tying the end.

“You’re all set.” he told his young patient, before starting on the customary instructions on how to care for the wound.

“In the weeks that follow,” he told Armani, “keep the site clean and covered.”

“Robin’s egg? Really, doc?” The teen wasn’t listening. He was too busy looking at his new face with the i-phone camera. The threads would dissolve, but the scars on his forehead and cheeks would be permanent.

“Everything I do is stitched with color,” the doctor replied, wondering whether there was more than gravity to blame for Armani’s injuries.

The clinic couldn’t afford flesh-colored thread let alone social workers.

Hell, he was lucky to have blue. Other times, he’d stitched men’s faces with fuchsia.

“Colorful characters, aren’t we?”

The doctor chuckled. “Think how boring the universe’d be otherwise?”


dVerse | Prosery – Everything is Stitched 144 words to include the borrowed line:

Everything I do is stitched with its color.
– W.S. Merwin, from “Separation

30 comments

    • Thank you, David. I think when it said stitched in color, I immediately thought of my own low moment when I needed stitches and they were done in a bright blue. I was just thankful to have them done.

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    • Yes, well, as one who’s had bright blue stitches, I can attest it was a less boring time, but one that I remember needing help and receiving it, which I hope will be true of many more to come.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I do think there’s a lesson in having bright stitches on your face. (I surely learned mine). But, I did think maybe this fall could have been not so much an accident as some sort of abuse. Thanks for reading this piece. I’m not it was stitched together perfectly in the end, but I enjoyed crafting it.

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