The smallest cluster

Of brown black

In an uneven smudge

At the left of my knee

Down a little

This marking

Etched into my skin

Could create a cloud

Of fog across my body

And make me sick

And it makes me sick

To see you sit

In that selfish sun

To burn and blister

That perfect body

To let your flesh turn

White to pink

And then to coffee stain

Whilst I lay here

Out of sight

To protect my already

Collapsing frame

Preserve some skin left

Not yet stretched

To fill the holes

As you stretch

Your ‘perfect tan’

Across sun lounger

And in every photo

You look good

With that bronze haze

And everyone stares at you

And say ‘You’re glowing’

And I look up

To watch the backs of their heads

More sunburn

My velvet bruise

turns crimson

in the salty sun’s

summer stain

and my body crumbles

because it is used

to kinder temperatures

when the sky isn’t so cruel

and does not try to infect

my freckled

speckled skin

and make me ash

buttered up

and battered


Sun burn

Because our pale legs

prove more prominent

does not mean we are less real

or human?

Because life is ‘pretty’

And last time I checked

This flesh was living

had a pulse

and bruised


and blue

and pink

bluer and pinker than you

and wider

more clearly pained