Day 19: Tupelo Press 30/30 Poetry Project ( National Poetry Month)


I talked to my grandfather 
three days before his death.

He asked, “Are you still itchy?”

My skin has just 
never stayed on my cheeks,

my whole life 
it has been dry.

He used to pick a mugwort’s leaves 
and boil them to make lotion.

I hated the green-brown 
liquid on my body. Sometimes 

he cut aloe leaves 
open for their soft insides.

The white veins were sticky on my fingers.  

“It may cure your skin when you marry,” 
and he gave me ice-cream 

before we played hide & seek. I curled up 
in the closet. It smelled of fur coats. 

I touched them with my wet 
hands. They repelled 

water like geese cut through snow 
while flying in the February 

sky. I rubbed my cheeks 
against the fur. Pieces of my skin 

flaked off. I scraped them 

until my nails 
split, until he found me.

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