The word "cauterize" has fallen out of favor

Most sources claim, to treat
a wound by searing flesh
had its heyday in the middle
of the 19 th Century.

In several countries, blood-soaked
battlefields meant mostly doom
for those who were merely injured.
Red-hot blades might save a soldier

from the loss of a limb. Or not.
But is it wise to cauterize
a before-wound?
Even if the site is known,

perhaps even the width
and depth to which the gash
will penetrate beneath
a spongy surface?

Be warned: dread
is its own harbinger.
Don’t be so quick
to brandish flaming sword

above your flesh—the skin
intact but wary, ready
to cringe from an insult that is still
several days distant.

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