He says “Take off your skin,”
so I do – shrugging off the weight of myself like a coat
that never really kept me warm, anyway.
He stands behind me and helps me out of it,
pulling off the sleeves, fumbling with the buttons and zippers
until every bit is peeled away to reveal the
floating mass of bones I’ve always been.
Not naked – something less than naked,
something secret and private and personal.
He says, “Let me see your insides,”
so I show him – prying back ribs to expose a frantic heart
trapped like a bird too long in its wire cage.
He says, “You are more than any sorrow that has laid its hands on you,”
bending my bars and inviting me out.
He puts his hand on my skull,
claims he can feel its thoughts moving right under his palm.
He puts his ear to my lungs,
swears he can hear the last echo of the Big Bang deep in my core.
He says, “You are older than the universe itself. Tell me how it’s been.
Tell me how you swallowed history, coughed out its wars
and made your peace with the rest of it.”
He says, “Show me how you click on and off again.”
He says, “Tell me about the first time you ever flicked a light switch and
what it meant to hold darkness in your hands.”
He says, “Bring your body to my doorstep – leave it on the mat with your shoes.
Come with your thoughts and heartbeat only.”
I’m barely down his street, thinking my thoughts and beating my heart
and he’s already pulling his door open with a smile left over from yesterday
saying, “Girl, I could hear that parade from a mile away.”