My skin feels too tight     must be shed     sometimes
dogs tremble sometimes they do not but instead     circle
nose to ground     finding a place to bed     my skin

holding on to memories like the thin bone clutch of
an old book     papery pages flutter     the cold of March the bite
of snow to bare toes the unexpected burning     blood

demands a way out     an owl in the window     was it
a dream?     yellow eyes looking in and sometimes the owls
feast on roadkill     and sometimes they die     my skin

a feather robe     an earthen crock     my skin clay and spit
a clutch of dry desert insect bodies holding a funeral
in the corner     my skin an eyelid     a toenail      an otter’s fur

my skin an ash splint basket woven     while still wet     I
fold myself into myself     let the sun shine     take its time
let the rains return     the coyotes cry     in the long August night

my skin     wet and cold     with being


Janet Barry is a musician, poet, and photographer with works published in numerous journals, most recently Snapdragon, Third Wednesday, and Clementine. She has received several Pushcart nominations and holds degrees in organ performance and poetry.