Thin skin, blood vessels close to the surface, mean
I bruise easily.  “You’re too thin-skinned,” said my mother.
“You’re too sensitive,” said my father.
“How can I grow out of this?”
“You’re skin grows thicker when you’re older,”
said my mother.  “Past adolescence.”
I imagine myself as an elderly armadillo.

Instead, with age, my skin gets finer, thinner.
On any given day, there is a bruise on my hip,
my knee, my foot, just as there was when
I was thirteen.  What penetrates most and hardest,
lingering longest, is words,
cutting into my flesh, leaving invisible scars.
Language, who would have known that it could bury
me like dirt, putting mw in the ground where I
Decompose, my flesh in the soil helping bring
Forth foxglove, gentians, columbines, roses,
Lilacs and buttercups.


A Breughel Winter Snow Scene


For My Sister

To My Westie: Neva

The Twilight Years

Snow White’s Poisoned Apple