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Ashleigh Lambert



A Mistake We Make to Get Through the Day


That morning, the skin we borrowed

from other creatures—the skin we wore

to keep our own skin safe—turned

back into whatever animals it’d come from.

Ladies who lunch were eaten by their furs.

The cowboy regretted his crocodile boots.

All over my body, cows cried.

When I walked, their mouths

on my feet flapped open and shut.

The city with its millions

of smartly clad inhabitants

was loud like a farm is always louder

than you imagine. No one’s skin

could keep quiet any longer.

The skins wanted us to know what it is

to be porous.

            We crouched low and asked

for their protection. We’ll tolerate

the talking, we’ll tolerate the flapping,

we will learn to embrace your sudden

jerks and wriggles. Just don’t

 make us go through this alone.

            Our two skins merging—give us that

at least.  If our two skins could grow together—

one moving toward living, one moving

toward death—that is what we’d have to call

maternity. We’ll mother each other

back into ferality—

a wildness we are too wild to fear.

            If our skin should become

an animal

much fiercer than the animal it’s made to contain—

            could we let ourselves be

worn, shed, worn again?

A form can’t contain its loss of shape.

We bleat back at our pleading forms—

            we’ll let in the light if you keep out the rain.


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