Epidermis, Dermis, Mine
This skin follows itself around,
would hide in rye grass
if it were small enough.
This skin is tough as cardboard
and I can only carry myself
in it, even if it gets rebellious,
decides to divide and start a new government.
This skin would like to bloom as wild roses
near a summer kitchen. This skin examines itself
every morning and then forgets its size.
This skin has been around a while now.
This skin wants to know the night
the way dragonflies must.
This skin can wind itself around
a man and push—
This skin worries about itself. And it tastes
like salt. It takes an average cell
up to one month to work its way from dermis to epi so
look out. . .this skin started the Boxer Rebellion.
When rubbed too hard this skin weeps its salt insides.
Scold as you might, this skin has never believed
it is mortal.
*** This poem originally appeared in Waterways.
About Susan C. Water
Susan C. Waters has an advanced degree from the creative writing program at George Mason University. Currently, she is Professor of English at New Mexico Junior College and has been so for nearly a decade.
She started out as a journalist covering hard news in upstate New York and for 13 years was a magazine editor and writer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. Her publishing credits are extensive, ranging from the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the U.S. House of Representatives. She has won six prizes in poetry, including the Mary Roberts Reinhart Prize, George Mason University. Additionally, in previous years, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry.