her entry was like many
at that time, no fanfare,
unspectacular, almost mundane –
this fair-skinned immigrant child

she learned the need for tenacity
and persistence early in life,
proving to herself that
she had skin in the game

she toiled, she scrambled,
refusing to allow treacherous
situations to defeat her, never
merely saving her own skin

the blows and battle scars
of misfortune, near debilitating
disappointment and disillusionment
served to toughen her skin

never quite sure she was
comfortable in her own skin,
she wobbled and reeled
precariously avoiding collapse

until one day, one bland,
numbing, toilsome day,
she no longer recognized
the skin she was confined in

she had always presumed
she would wear the
skin of influence, surrounded
by people from every nation,

of every skin tone, together
on a platform of justice,
equality, change – words
flowing freely and freeing-ly

until all were one, skin to skin,
hearts beating in unison,
inviting presence, humanity,
united in the unfathomable expanse

of the universe. but that day
was slow in coming, indeed
the possibility it may never manifest
drove her to wildly play out of her skin

yet another day, marked by no
passage of time, settled onto
her skin, as a clammy film
drapes itself onto an overheated body

that day she saw another
in her skin, in her place
with her voice, passion,
stunning contribution for greater good

and she could not recognize
the skin that now snaked around
her, attempting to masquerade
as her own.

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2017
Photo Credit:


4 thoughts on “Skinned

    1. Learning to thrive, even when stripped down! The stripping seems inevitable, even necessary. I think this one is still open –– will she find authentic ways to be true to herself at this juncture? I hope she does / we all do! Thank you, Andrea. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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