“Skin” by Susan Dickman

And what are they to do with pieces of it that lie in the grass / or waft down afterwards, floating through the atmosphere

like feathers from a featherbed in the tale about the girl / who disappears down a well and returns

in a shower of gold? What to do / with all the minute pieces, the shreds?

The air at times turns violet, the sun neglects / to warm the grainy strip of sand we lie on

waiting to be touched and transformed. And the body / falls apart like hair unloosed, returns element to element,

distills itself. We are only bone and water after all. / Skin covers the gray-tinged grass like the oldest balm

to heal sickness. The air corrupts, dries it, / breaks it down into its former life of cells

to join the inert world of soil and leaf. / They say Da Vinci’s molecules

still orbit the globe, that the air he breathed, / we breathe today. So that when blood is spilled /

when skin rains down on this dry earth, perhaps / somehow, the earth remembers.