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Monday, October 20, 2014

Introduction to Dermatographia


Trace your name along my skin, it will stay there,
a red imprint called “skin writing.”

A too-tight hug, an accidental scratch on a blackberry bramble,
even rough towels can cause welts and hives.

The princess with her pea, the girl in the bubble, 
watch my encounters with the world, how hard I work

to not come in contact with anything
that will leave a mark. No too-tight straps, no hot showers.

If only I could float like Glinda in her soapy sphere, 
gliding past obstacles unscathed.

Can you read the message my heart has etched
on my skin, this petal-thin map?


  • Jeannine Hall Gailey is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the VillainessShe Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter (forthcoming, 2015).