Some people can watch other people turn to air
without thinking the air becomes wind too, so it can fly.
I have been like that, capable of watching
as a leaf does, or a window: When she ripped off her skin,
my mother, and lost herself standing there before us
without any skin, and insisted she’d be fine.
When we gathered her shed skin but wouldn’t slip it on,
not even over our clothes: It was lumpy
and covered in varicose veins she’d gotten
from the weight of our bodies inside hers, long ago.
When we put her to bed without her skin and turned off
the night light and told her to sleep as long
as she wanted to, forever if she wanted to, we would make
breakfast in the morning. When we sat in the kitchen
and looked at each other
and talked about her skin.
Michael Hettich | Mudlark No. 40 (2010)
Contents | Measuring the Days