Allie Marini Batts
This is me coming to you naked,
not just  skin-naked, but under-the-skin naked,
the black bands of eyeliner carefully washed away
from my face, which even before becoming scarred and wrong,
was unbearable to me in its averageness—there is nothing
quite so cruel in life
than to be a girl who isn't wholly
pretty     or ugly, but instead somewhere in-between,
because then, you're just not memorable at all.
here's some more under-the-skin naked: my shelf life is four years.
no man has ever lasted longer than that with me.
But I think they'd agree it was a good four years, mostly—
if for no other reason than the extraordinary things
I learned to do with my ordinary mouth but even those things
are not enough to have ever made love work
or to make me stay when my ordinary mouth unhinged,
learned new tricks like spitting poison, snakelike,
fangs milked on naked skin, exposed & white
like the underbellies of alligators waiting to roll you.
Skin & under-the-skin naked I am the sloughed off stocking of a water snake
draped over a cypress knee fragile & musky, dark like a damp pile of leaves
still slightly smelling of the holding pond unremarkable except for my markings
scars keeled like scales bright colorations which, in nature
are usually indicative of venomous creatures.