It’s something someone else could use
if needed to identify my body in a morgue:
a telltale splotch across the softer skin
within my inner arm.
It might well be a Scottie or a Poodle,
head cocked in profile, silhouetted there,
staring out across my child’s jaw-grimaced
bicep, which flexing for the win, I’d hope to feel
a magical bestirring, some jostle of improbable bark,
a sudden shift of freckles frolicking like mad
around my arm.
Perhaps a donkey: long-eared, stubborn
as dry-cracked and clotted clay through which the plough of effort
pulls. Something so indomitable to bare its teeth, delay
if hay were not forthcoming. It was always on its way
to somewhere caramel, somewhere I would covet in the 80’s,
faced with the unfair exclusion of my pale white arms
when everyone was tan.
My son thinks it’s a rocket ship,
revved and ready to blast off and break through
barriers of space and time and skin, to pass its fiery wake
along to him, that thought of the impossible made possible
strewing stardust all along its path. From time to time,
I squint at it, quizzical, suspicious; at my age, one can’t be too careful,
monitoring its margins for any sign of error, any widening gyre.
Perhaps some night while I’m asleep I’ll dream the dog and donkey meet
and come together, board a rocket ship called Birthmark, streaming
melanin tails, to journey through the galaxy of me, pinwheeling
freckles free like flecks of treacle starlight, instead of what’s supposed
to be a cell-based silhouette. My birthmark barks at patriarchs,
pell-mell, around my arm, braying my own name across a spill of stars:
embellishing my imperfect flesh with insurrection,
with its own diminutive profusion, with its dapple of irregular:
my body’s small asymmetry ascending into generous acceptance,
marking my own human form with awkward, constellated grace.
© Alison Hurwitz 10/21. All Rights Reserved.