By Eileen Ellis

there must be a word for this
voice that tells me if only
I could peel myself into long strips
of papier-mâché then I might not run the tips
of my fingers across my chin
and down my shins
leaving the inverse of freckles
every day thinking
surely the moon didn’t give itself                craters

there must be a word for this
voice that tells me perhaps if
I could rip all the hairs from my body at once
rather than pull and tweeze
then they wouldn’t all feel so foreign
wouldn’t feel like myself does not belong
when strands break through skin
and curl up and out of flesh

there must be a word for this
voice that tells me I need to
place fingers from one hand on my
top lip and fingers from the other
on the lower and pull first up
and over my skull and then
until I am peeled to my toes
able to slither away with my skin
left pooled on the floor like silk

there must be a word for something
that I could meet or reach or find
that would be more myself than my self
because I don’t know how hair grown through my own flesh
through my own food taken in through my own mouth turned to
my own sugar turned to my own energy turned to my own
photosynthesis could feel so other
and yet my fingers crawl over the flesh of my scalp and every time
the nerve endings of fingertips find that

this is foreign.

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