Amateur Oncology

It's not the first time
she's rubbed it discreetly;
a fifty says it won't be the last.
"How long has this been here?"
she asks of the small mark on his forehead.
"As long as I can remember," he blurts.

It's one speck of the spatter
that flecked his skin at birth--
an external flaw doled as counterpoint
by God the Father's left hand.
There are hundreds on his body
but this one catches her eye.
She would know.
She's an expert.
She doesn't like its color.
He fears her mistrust
of his faulted epidermis.
He'll never tell her this
but the irony seems right.

It's a year since her mother
was eaten alive by cancer.
Her own skin that betrayed her
was washed and clothed
by her daughter until the end.
He quit fifteen years of nicotine
the weekend that they met
though there was no ultimatum.
There can't be
if it's to last.

Scrolling back through years of pictures
zooming in to check his head
would seem like cheating fate.
Who needs reassurance with a memory like his?
That brown spot's been there forever.

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