by Gabrielle Turner

When you grab someone who’s about to fall, their flesh feels like meat in your hand. Not me, your head says. She doesn’t feel like me. But she is. I look down and I am holding myself.

The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis that consists of connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain.

Leave it out and custard gets a skin. Pour it, and it splits open. I imagine it ripping like fabric. A zip on a raincoat. The sides of a wound breaking open again. One stitch, two. Something is trying to pour itself out of me. I am dividing, like the first cell. I am becoming someone else.

Severely damaged skin may heal by forming scar tissue. This is sometimes discoloured and depigmented. 

“It makes me wonder how any body can contain it all.”

Every time I leave you, it feels like there are hands in every part of me. Hands that reach out and say never leave me because I am not myself alone. Hands that push you away for being too much. Hands that are fists, pat-a-cakes, hands holding onto other hands. Hands that look just like mine, but newer. Prints in poster paint, stuck to the fridge with magnets.

Fingerprints channel water away. Fingerprints help you grip. Fingerprints are easily deposited on suitable surfaces.

They don’t sell oranges loose at the supermarket these days. On the boats, the fish come up in nets, and the big fish keep the small fish in. To make patchwork, all you need is fabric and thread. I sweep fragments of biscuit into an open palm. I am holding it together.

Skin is a barrier. It interfaces with the environment and is the first line of defence from pathogens.

I’m walking home from the supermarket and my arms are tingling. These bags are getting heavier, cutting into the joints of my fingers. I will carry them forever, and more, and more, and more. I know this, and I keep walking. It makes me wonder how any body can contain it all.

The thickness of skin varies from location to location on an organism. The skin on the palms and the soles of the feet is the thickest skin on the body. 

Inside, I am pieces. Something is holding all this chaos in. It’s tough, like the fibrous bits of raw meat; the membrane on a squid. Some days, I think it looks a bit like I used to.It is there every day: the outline of my body, containing me. Without fail, it shows up for me: late, breathless, cold, stiff, but there all the same, holding me gently, telling me that we’ve got this, together.

Gabrielle Turner | @gabyturner_
Gabrielle Turner is a writer, content strategist and part time greyhound tickler. Her work has most recently been published in Popshot magazine and The Emma Press Book of Beasts. 

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