The Paper Girl

Nic O’Shea


If my skin were made of parchment,

opaque and delicate,

my life story scrawled across,

I wouldn't have to find the words to explain myself, express myself-

it would all be right there

in black and white.


If my skin were made of parchment,

silhouettes of scenes long past would become tattoos along the curve of my back,

illustrating the effect they still have on me

Defining terms etched along my limbs

for quick reference to who I am,

why I am.


If my skin were made of parchment,

the entries full of red ink,

revising parts of me which no longer serve a purpose other than pain.

My edges worn from years of manipulation

dog-eared, creased,

I’m afraid of what will fall away if the fibers break.


If only my skin were made of parchment

I would erase it all,

start again from a wiser place.

No co-authors.

No guest editors.

Just me.