Skins by Patience Agbabi

It’s not like you don’t turn me on.
Every time you walked past
I thought, She’s fit.
Come-to-bed eyes.
We both want to
feel my skin

against your skin.
It’s not like you’re on
or I’m changing into
a woman. It’s my past.
Look into my eyes.
I just wanted to fit

in. A misfit.
Mixed race but light-skinned,
brown hair, blue eyes,
bootboy with a hard-on.
I passed.
I had to.

Then I got this tattoo.
I did it in a fit
of rage. It soon passed.
You want to read my skin?
Whatever turns you on.
I closed my eyes

and put my soul on ice,
denied a black dad, too
terrified to let on.
I wore the outfit,
marched with the skins.
I don’t like to talk about the past,

I hate my past.
My big lie reflected in their eyes,
their hatred in my skin.
With this tattoo
I’m a walking Photofit.
That’s why I keep my clothes on.

It’s past midnight. I’ll call a cab if you want me to.
But your eyes know how to fit
a condom like a second skin. Come on…

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/28/poem-of-the-week-skins-by-patience-agbabi

Date: 2008

By: Patience Agbabi (1965- )

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