I'll trade you one white hand
for one black foot
and one man's ear
for a woman's to listen in the dark.
If all this skin
none of us would have to worry--
we could wear each other
trade hide like school kids
and laugh when something didn't fit.
If we all had a second heart
waiting in the closet
to beat like bat wings against our ribs
we wouldn't worry about how
we were treated, or how long
it took us to wear the system down.
If each of us could act as a spare
for the other, we might last forever.
The second heart and borrowed skin
haunts us in the darker rooms
where terror waits to say
who we should be
and we know that we may actually
have to change our self for another
soon. This is the costume of fear--
the shirt we put on that makes someone
want to hang us or sell us
like a cabbage or worse
some piece of meat.
If we could put on another voice
and say those things someone else might wail
when afraid or in pain,
we could understand our anger
when someone who is wearing their skin
cannot give it to us
and we cannot give them ours.
Last update: 5 June 2000