Caitlin Wolper

Your Skin is Tough & Yours

for Samantha Faller


The city trick is pretending
you’re an ignorant island:
see no, hear no, speak


He asked to touch
my hand & then
stopped asking. 

In the bedroom I stood
beside my body: we all know
what that’s like, forced to split in two
ghosts, each still, both cold,
surrendered to the ease
of letting anything happen.
What does it matter, we’re all skin
bags anyway, I’d told
my friend the hour before.

Can I be a borough now? Adrift
in anonymous mass, allowed
to write strange lines
that strangers can’t see
through the heavy subway crowds?
Hide me in throngs so I might forget

he asked to touch my hand
& then stopped asking.

Let me be Brooklyn, wide roads
and quiet mornings, quiet
murders and rapes and the hand
that opened me with a rip
like Velcro unhinging.

Caitlin Wolper graduated from Penn State's BA/MA in poetry, and her chapbook Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She has been published most recently in Longleaf ReviewHooligan Magazine, Yes, Poetry, and Z Publishing's Best Emerging Poets Series. Also a journalist and writer, she has bylines in Teen Vogue, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, Reuters, and New York Family, among others. Follow her on Twitter @CaitlinWolper