All About Skin

By Leslie Adrienne Miller

On a reasonably sized female adult,
two square yards of the stuff,
all etched with nerves of wild
to be roused, altogether the largest
organ in the body. Unless you count
the considerable accumulation
of disappointment that sprouts
as fast as creeper in a chemical-free
yard. Or all those useless tears,
salt and mucus and plain old water
manufactured by the ducts every time
hurt shows up for dinner, rather more
often too, as the years advance,
putting his feet on the sofa,
leaving dishes in the sink. Perpetually
twenty with his tight ass and gorgeous
hands, he invents longing like a tall tale
and gets us to drink one more glass
of merlot than we’d meant to tonight.
If only we had more feathers and horn,
that sweet jacket of woolly lanugo we wore
in the womb and swallowed like a marvelous secret
just days before the world turned on the lights
and pronounced us girls.


Leslie Adrienne Miller’s most recent collection of poems, Y, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. Her previous books include The Resurrection Trade and Eat Quite Everything You See (Graywolf), Yesterday Had a Man In It, Ungodliness, and Staying Up For Love (Carnegie Mellon). She is a professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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