This poem was created as the first in a series of poems focusing on the human body. As a nurse, sometimes it can be difficult to see the beauty and creativity of our physical presence. I wanted to reconnect to that, and to focus in particular on parts of the body that are often under appreciated or undervalued. Skin came to mind first, simply because it is such a vital organ, and so easily taken for granted. This concept also fascinated me because it is one of the few organs that we are constantly regenerating and leaving behind, and one that so easily reflects our internal well-being. For me, this piece is simply a representation of how we share our physical presence in a solid, but simultaneously shifting way.

Long have I learned / skin / is the most open / of organs / like light in / that it is the first / gift to this world / When they ask me / my legend / I will tell them / how I made / my skin into light: // by fracturing / as a sun-spot / ruptures / into the dark / bruises you see / from the telescope / as a child / held soft / in my arms / turns translucent / when the bilirubin tides / break inside her / beneath the fluorescents / green in, yellow out // by shedding / the way it is / touching / every surface / cells left / in bright gulps / between your fingers / the little bits / of my reaching / hands through the water / like beams / catching, carrying / on the scales / of fish / Always both / glowing / turning mirage / aspens / glittering / a thousand wings / in the sun / From beyond / I ask you / if you see me / in the flash / if I, too / am shimmering yet.

Kolbe Riney is a queer poet and registered nurse from Tucson, Arizona. You can find their work (featured or forthcoming) in Arc Poetry Magazine, TinderBox, Passages North, or at kolberiney.wixsite.com/website.