By Judith Skillman

No, it is not like that brocade and silk

you remember in the your mother’s house.


Nor is it to be pitied or skulked away from,

as if it too had a choice as to where to live.


Rather the mucous-cyst of the moon

given freely to earth’s residents by the sun.


If you make a wish on a star, be careful

of all the other stars clustered around that one.


Jealousy breeds envy, and, from greens,

yellows grow.  It is not only fabrication.


Still, we would have preferred other news.

If we come to visit you, pretend you are well.


In the event you have trouble understanding

what’s been happening in your glands,


your lymph nodes, begin again as a child.

Sound things out.  Refer to pain as ouch.


In order to live with boils, rashes, and  hosts

yes, you must become yourself.  Parasitic.


Need those who most rebuke you.  Crave

what you can’t have, wear the hair shirt


to bed, and carry your sins on a chain

around your neck, especially the Christ,


whose exit, impeccable, from gangrenous

rags left in a tomb, mimics the butterfly.