Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seeking Another Woman's Skin

In St. Vincent de Paul,
warehouse for shed skins,
fetid, brown-smelling,
thick and rank in their racks
as reptiles in a back-
water zoo,
shirts seething next to
moth-eaten coats,
rows upon rows of
loose-kneed pants, faded skirts,
crumpled T shirts and cracked shoes,
I plunge chapped hands
into cold polyester,
the smoke and stink
of other womens' lives--

try on a pair of faded Levis,
trail my finger over a yellow spot
near the crotch--
a drop of mustard, or
trace of blood washed
into a half-moon, acid kiss
of a lover, his wrathful
tear, maybe the faint hiss
of his cigarette--

on me, it's a half-
smile, small and sly,
yellow tongue
flicking the taut zipper.

Under this stranger's skin
I am naked, raw and
nearly new.

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