My Skin Is

Jorie Graham

parched, on tight, questioned, invisible, full of so much evolution, now the moment is
gone, begin again, my skin, here, my limit of the visible me, I touch it now, is
spirit-filled, naturally-selected, caught in the storm here under this tree, propped up by
history, which, I don’t know which, be careful, you can’t love everyone –

brought to you by Revlon, melancholy, mother’s mother, the pain of others,
spooky up close in this mirror here, magnified to the 100th, brutal no-colour colour,
what shall I call it, shall I pass, meandering among the humans, among their
centuries, no safe haven this as if, this spandex over a void, no exception, god

watching though casually, paring, paring, a glance once in a while – what am I
missing – what am I supposed to do now suddenly, what at the last minute here –
what is there to fix – are we alone – am I – packaged so firmly for this short
interval – vigorous skin, doomed outsideness of me – sadder & no wiser here

blown up, so close, so here, I see you net that skeins me in, tight inside my
inwardness – at this border judged – at this edge bleeding when hit – as was for a
while – didn’t know enough to leave – didn’t see the farewell – right there in front of
me – must it always end this way – must I ceaselessly be me, reinvent you, see the

artifice us, feel hand-to-face the childhood gone, the starlight the wind the gaze the
race, the stranger not knowing, the unsaid unsaid, unseen unfound – look how full of
void it is this capture, these pores no one can clean, and thoughts right there
beneath – of course you cannot see me for this wrapping – I notice the cover of your

book, the dress you hide beneath, you sitting there reading me – pay mind, pay it
out, peering as we are at each other here – dermal papilla pigment-layer
nerve fibre blood and lymph, can we fit into this strictest time, so quick, one click and
hurry up – we’ve been trying forever to get out of this lonely place – inside’s inside –

the movie of the outside was all about exploring, we explored, we found what we
should never touch, we touched, we touch, what’s so unusual we say, you are now
mine we say, this is the feature coming on, this future, so full of liking & fine dis-
closure, a bud-tip pushing aside its sheathe, then standing there, very whole

now and official, open to damp, heat, stippling, shadow, freckle, slap, beauty or no
beauty – please help me here as I can’t tell – the trees don’t know – the wind
won’t speak – the gods must but their names are being withheld – because some of
us are murdered, and some of us have mouths that keep saying yes, do that to me

again, I know it hurts but yes, I am an American and I like it harder than you’ll ever
know, this is Tuesday, the day rises with its fist over the harbour saying give it to me
and the day obliges, saying more, more, do you want more, and the torch of dawn
says more, yes more, ask for my identification, my little pool of identification, here

on the only road, arrested again among the monuments.