If you’re going to judge me by my skin, use its thickness.
Judge me by its elasticity, its ability
to stretch and absorb
the nicks and scabs, the scrapes and sores
that come my way.
Judge me by its transparency and the way it barely covers my heart, my guts, my organs, and my bones.
Judge me by the way I can recover, as your lover,
from criticism and pressures,
from blame and disapproval.
If you’re going to judge me by my skin,
use its character.
Judge me by the way it holds me together.
My skin: It holds me together.
You can see where I expose it, if I choose to expose it.
I can expose it, yes, I can expose it
when I want to expose it.
And you can touch it, yes, you can touch it
when I want you to touch it.
And I want you to touch it.
I can feel your eyes on my skin.
I can feel your fingers above it, your breath on it.
It’s an electric breath on nerve endings,
firing, recoiling, firing again.
You give me tingle shivers, tickles and itches
and the intense pleasure of scratching that tickle-itch
like a tickle massage.
You can examine my knuckles, my finger tips and palms,
my veins and my blood pumping near the surface,
flushed and exploding in my ears and in my lungs.
You can smell my body odours, and lick my sweat
as it drips from my wrists onto our sheets.
You know my fragrances and scents,
my washes and gels.
You know my fingerprint smells.
And you can examine all my freckles and wrinkles,
my moles and my most private imperfections.
Oh sure, my skin has colour. It’s the colour of skin.
But judge me by the thickness,
not the colour of my skin.