Susan UttingSusan Utting 


The Thin-Skinned

We are a race of easy bruisers
scarred from early childhood's
carelessness, insouciance, we

mark like velvet: press us,
we remain impressed too long,
steam heat will not restore us.

We've tried the habits of the
thicker-skinned; they discomfort
us - we burn, we freeze,

we paic and give up, give in
to voices in our heads, our
mothers' choruses of voices:

keep close to walls, seek
shade beneath the arms
of bushy trees, never bare

your arms, wear stockings,
wide-brimmed hats, cocoon
yourself in winter, parasol

in summer. Build walls
around your body, embrace
the safety of your solitude,

keep distant, there is method
in it, let isolation be your second
nature, your one, true familiar.

First published in the anthology "Poems for the Binsted Prize" at the South Downs Poetry Festival and Binsted Arts, 2021


Copyright, Privacy & Design