I stay up all night reading about skin but it doesn’t really help I just know lots of words now like ectodermal which is another name for the layers that protect what’s underneath organs ligaments bones etc interface is the name of what the skin does with the environment being the internal environment’s first line of defence against external factors all mammals even marine animals have hair on their skin though they appear hairless every hair has a small muscle or pili which allows hair to be raised when cold or in a heightened emotional state and even though at this time of night wiki can begin to sound like a poem about how we’re all tiny rooms of consciousness covered in skin that can express emotion and whose top layers are all dead and constantly shedding as you touch things still I’m left like a crazy person searching through all the pictures that contain your hands remembering the exact awakeness of my skin all down that side the last time you touched me why are hands so intimate anyway we use them for such varied private/public acts we fear they know us too well they will announce our intentions or maybe because they are what our bodies think with we trust touch more than other things you touch me so I know you are real in the way I need you to be real or I avoid touching you at all costs because the way I touch you cannot be a lie the skin is different on the hands more fixed to the bone on the palm side thinner and looser on the other to accommodate movement using tools making a fist most importantly the action of opening and closing or grasping as a species we are defined by our ability to reach for and hold onto things or to choose not to
Daisy Behagg won the Bridport prize for poetry 2013. She has been widely published in journals including The Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Ambit and Poems in Which. She has performed at events across the UK from Shambala and Boomtown festivals to the Edinburgh Book Festival, and runs intersectional feminist poetry and spoken word night Yeah Yeah She Said. She is a student mental health nurse and lives in Brighton.