It’s not that I’m not comfortable
in my own skin. It’s that I can’t
ever be without it—it’s a harness
in a handbag, holding me to the ocean
with a hook and a thread.

This is the life I wanted—a cottage,
no Prince Charming but a kind heart,
a cat and a home library. In the sea
I can’t have any of this. Still, pink skin
for its other self, wet and dark.

One day I’ll go to the beach, set a fire,
throw in the bag full of everything
I carry around. Driver’s license,
lip gloss, cash, and the pelt, a last tie
to the water,

to the split and to the lie
that binds.

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E. Kristin Anderson is the author of seven chapbooks, including A Guide for the Practical Abductee; Fire in the Sky; Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I Wrote to Prince in the Middle of the Night, and 17 Days. Learn more at Artist and illustrator Kate Leiper finds inspiration in myths, fairy stories, legends, and local and personal tales and aims to bring them to life through her artwork. Visit her online at