It was peeled bare in the night
and is perfectly alive
but did not bleed; no blood flowed.

Tender and raw, tense and impassive,
the dark and livid flesh stares back
since flight became impossible;
wanting, pretending, to be old like its bearer.

Flesh lies open to infection – and afraid,
waiting at each rasping breath of air
for the imagined knife to strike
through the surface into its bed of bones.

Caught naked on the cusp of healing,
ready to heal – but not yet, not yet today –
without its thin-skinned wrinkled shell;
stretched too tightly, damaged, and now broken.

Shelter lived there once.
Now life stutters instead,
its cover scraped away.


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