Under the esthetician’s harsh fluorescence, my skin
is a map of damage. Although for much of my life, I saw the sun
as a kind of cheeky ally, it is clear that this has never been
a thoroughly mutual relationship. I bore the brunt of this liaison,
my cells punished by exposure. Now, I must do my best
to stay out of it, turn my body from that welcome nest
of warmth and optimism, secure the acreage of my chest,
my arms, the tops of my feet, my defenseless neck against
the disobedient rays hidden even when clouds obscure the light.
And yet, underneath each patchy landscape, stirring in the dark,
another sun - the fire safeguarding my heart - has left the deeper mark.