say my name

by rachel

I look down to find pieces of myself forming an island around me.
“shit, what have I done”
You see, when I’m nervous (or bored), occasionally both and
on occasion neither, I have this habit. I peel away layers of dead skin
from my body. From the soles of my feet, the callouses on my fingers
that patch on my knee. 

I don’t know what I’m searching for. 

I peel away the parts of me that are well-worn, earth torn, 
love scorned. I dig my fingernails into tissue towers that no
longer whisper my name. Some days if I dig hard enough,
there is pain. Mostly, there is just skin. 

I keep searching, searching for a reason to do it, searching
for a reason to stop. I never find it. But I have learnt that when skin
leaves our bodies, it hardens. It curls ever so slightly, stiffening
as it reins itself in,

like paper drying out after a night in the rain.