by Janice N. Harrington
Featured Art: “Squall” by Madara Mason
My skin, my confessor, my cubicle,
scrivener, touch screen, touch-collector.
Frame and shawl and portmanteau. Wait,
wait, don’t go. The sun’s too high,
too hot. You’ll burn for sure.
On my face, this scattered Braille.
Read what my cheek says; all those
cuts on my hands, read those too.
And that vowel in the small of my back,
say it, repeat after me.
A door for out, a door for in,
I’m in my skin, within, within. Without?
You mean without your skin?
The skin against my thigh says
warm, dry, soft, weight of, knows
silken and kerseymere, says here.
Says, yes. Says, no.
It whispers with its electric tongue, release
and absence. But absence is always worse.
It’s the one that leaves the scar.
Skin-clock, tick-tock, tick-tock.
A scar, a scurry, I wouldn’t worry.
We’re only skin scenes, skin-scapes,
little dioramas with clever apes,
a skin, akin, pretense, pretend.
Let me ask again, your skin or mine?
Janice N. Harrington’s latest book of poetry is Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin (BOA Editions, 2016). She curates “A Space for Image,” a blog about poetic imagery, and teaches at the University of Illinois, where she is Director of the Creative Writing Program.