I Am Thinking Always of Exposed Skin

Black and white side view drawing of a bent-over nude body

“Thicket of Trash” by Lydia Armstrong

I am thinking always
of exposed skin.

I know what that word means, it means
movement it means joining it means
forty-year wilderness—

it means the world has borne witness
to the scar on my knee—and
who am I

to say whether or not I am ashamed
of the moving or the witness, the whiteness.
My mother said: a scar is the temple veil at dusk sewn together out of panic

Remember, it says, someone has died
so that you can be free—remember
that nobody on either side knows

which is more sacred:
to be whole or      naked.
What I know is that my scars

are shaped like a river
stone stolen from where
priests stood in the Jordan

the day a nation crossed to another nation

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