Shirts and Skins

A poem about a night in October – this year and one year before.


Written by Alejandra Jimenez

Edited by Yoko Zhu



I called your girlfriend ugly yesterday

But I did not mean it


Her lips are small

Like yours

The tube of tobacco

Now lying between them


The softness of the night

Molds into jelly

As your hands

Outline the strips

Sown onto her shirt

And your lips

Flatten in preparation

For hers


The same lips that gifted me

A series of your nothings

Hands that held my wrists

“Too tight–

Please stop,” I begged


But not cried.

Never cried.


Take it off, you said

As the sharp October air

Pierced my chest

My arms

My stomach


Cars dissolved into mist

Fleeting howls gathered

Alongside them

My shirt, now grasped

Between your fingers


“Give it back,”

“Give it back,”


The honking had drowned

My skin

The street

The shout


My shirt now filled with dirt

Melts into the concrete

Into nothing


Me and my shirt

The same


I called your girlfriend ugly yesterday

But I did not mean it


Though I wish I did;

I just hate her shirt



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