Donkeyskin by Midori Snyder

Donkeyskin
by Midori Snyder

There was the sight
Grey and monstrous, rubbed with ashes and grit
Father’s skin in the moonlight, shadows from my door
His jaw stretching into the room

There was the smell
Rank and cloying, the tang of smoked flesh
Father’s exhalations on the surface of my skin
A tooth decayed from a hunger for sweets

There was the sound
Parchment crackle as I coiled, a tail sweeping the rushes
Father’s breathing harsh, labored as his
Feet slid over the stones to my bed

There was the feel
Stiff and dried, the sinews couched threads
Father’s parched hand on my wrist, roped fingers
Snaring my rebellious pulse

There was the taste
Tannery salt, rubbed into the cured flesh
Father’s hand over my mouth
The tidal sweat of his palm stinging my lips

Beneath the donkeyskin I lived
Embraced by arched ribs of ivory
Father clamored over the dead skin, but could not
Find me curled in the belly

Later, I stitched the skin to my sides
And fled into the night, the cutting edge of
Hooves striking the granite stones
Shedding stars to light my way.

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