Have you ever scribbled a telephone number, or a name
on the handy back of your hand?
Written something there on your own soft skin,
pressed and tickled across the grain of you
with the fine running point of a ballpoint pen?
It has the right ink thatâ€™ll slide on
oily and easy, and stay there for hours.
Even a soapy scrub of your hand
wonâ€™t shift it altogether.
Itâ€™s perfect for jotting something down
in a hurry, something you need to hold onto
oh, for less than a day, maybe,
but vital for that day.
Paper is flighty, easy to lose,
and it isnâ€™t always to hand.
Youâ€™ll not, after all, mislay
your own skin â€“ will you?
Unlike the animal â€“ lamb, or kid, or calf â€“
whose skin has been stripped off,
scraped clean of lifeâ€™s paraphernalia,
â€“ flesh â€“ fat â€“ hair â€“
and transformed, even transfigured, into parchment
or â€“ in the case of the calf â€“ vellum
for the writing of the Word.
Copyright Catherine Byron 2000