birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I have lots of scars from head to toes. Just to the left of my nose there is a small scar that my mother told me resulted from the baby me scratching my face with my very sharp baby finger nails. It’s right next to my chickenpox scar. I have a nearly invisible scar on my left forearm left by a surgical excision of a skin cancer. I have a football-shaped scar on my left breast, the result of breast reconstruction following my mastectomy 20 years ago. I have an ugly discoloration on my left leg, a reminder of the plate the surgeon put in after I sustained two vertical fractures of my tibia.
Not all of my scars on my left side however. On my right side, I have a wormy scar on my abdomen, a reminder of my appendectomy when I was a sophomore in college. And course I have scars on both knees left over from multiple bike crashes my childhood.
My best scar, however is neither left nor right. It runs straight down the center of my abdomen, like a zipper. It is a souvenir reminding me of two of the best days of my life: the days my daughters were born. I have been told that modern C-sections use a bikini cut which camouflages the scar beneath the public hair. That was not the method my OB-GYN used in 1970. It has never bothered me that I missed the bikini innovation. After all I already had the wormy appendectomy scar. In fact, the surgeon used the C-section as an opportunity to pull my tummy up tight. No post-partum tummy sag for me after each delivery. Years later, when I needed a hysterectomy, the zipper scar was still there, waiting to be used to both open me up wide and close me up tight.

The Scar Under My Chin

The Most Wonderful 20 Minutes of the Year