The World With You

Love Letter to the Skinless

I am no longer muddy. This city has wiped me clean. And the cars are razors that slice into my flesh. I feel their giant claws sink into bone. They tackle me to the ground every time. I try not to show what it is like to live skinless in this city. I wear earphones. I pull a hood over my head. I look down and move to the side when people pass. I am frightened here. This city was not built for me. It was built on efficiency and speed. And today I am inefficient and slow. There is nothing wrong with that. I did not fail when I could not pass. I was not thrown outside the circle of life. I am embedded inside. And though I do not pay taxes, my life has a dividend that cannot be traced on paper. I am only sick when you place me in a sick world with an open heart. If I could close myself off like a clenched fist, maybe I would be immune to this disease. But I have not learned the art of impenetrability. My hands tremble with the rush of modern life. So, I write you a love letter with quivering fingers. I see that you are also terribly exposed to a razor-sharp world. I tell you that you belong here. And your life has value. You do not need to become faster or simpler in order to be worthy of care. You may not fit into squares or circles. You may have edges that bend or corners that cross. Who said complexity can’t be beautiful? I see you, and I have no complaints. A world without you would not be a better world, but a deprived one. The world may not have been built for you, but it was made with you in it. I see you, skinless and trembling, and I remember I am not alone.

Carol Krause is a poet who writes love letters in the mud that can only be deciphered in the dark. Carol’s poetry has recently appeared in PRISM internationalMinola ReviewThe FiddleheadBest Small Fictions, and is forthcoming in Augur Magazine