Criterion

skin

By M’Shai S. Dash

 I peeled my skin off

To expose purples and deep reds

Wine and violets for you,

Swirled together all sticky and warm

Inviting you to marvel at me

As you could not see

the coil of my hair

my olive-yellow-brown hue

Because I peeled off my skin for you

(Fingernails last, of course)

You sat chin-in-palm, listening

Eyes glued to my gooey face

And confessed that you, too

Are really wine and violets inside

Such a comfort it was to hear it

(I had all but forgotten,

As I had been

alone and naked

Without my skin)

saddened when I said

I could not stay,

You observed my wine dripping

And my violets wilting

So you departed

to let me rest

for a while

When you returned

To find me fully healed

in my new-grown skin

Full lips framed my teeth as I smiled

and I bore witness to

the realization written on your brow

you left my bedside with

Your jaw set

and the corners of your mouth turned down

You knew

The pitiable

bubble-gum-pink flesh monster

Who had once been

Wrapped like royalty

in a wet coat

Of burgundy-laced magenta

Spilling wine and shredded violet petals at your feet

As it basked

in your acceptance and awe

Was gone.

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