I had warts as a child, on my hands; bumps and nodules of skin. Some hardened, others fleshy. My mother took me to a clinic to have them burned off. I recall the smell and the sting. Today I can see the silver-smooth scars.
For a time in my youth I had psoriasis, on my legs, the back of my arms, my hips, my scalp. White skin, whiter and flaky; rough patches of shredded skin. It made me feel unclean. As if I’d been marked by some sin committed. White paste applied, tar shampoo. The first time I made love to my future wife I wouldn’t take my shirt off.
What skin says. This is the what the river says to the banks. What the skin says. This is your vulnerability. Your shame. This is what contains you, moves you to conceal and trundle along, and later, when the skin is all gone, breached, burned & sloughed, to reveal yourself as being refused by no sea.
This body, these hands.