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Leper Lady at Swiss Park

Leper Lady at Swiss Park




The drunken rotund man dances with the leper lady

her nose nearly gone, ears like chewed leaves

pieces gone from edges of dissolving skin

as if worms sheared them away while she spun


She is thin and swirls with her lips,

holding onto her skin in the spin

His excess envelops her as they both

take up space on the floor


She's dainty dry in a rustling dress

He simmers in his own juices

The two together like that

dancing as one disappears

and another gains substance


I dance with the scrawny boy

who whispers, "Dare you to touch her."

So I bundle up in horror and weave myself

up close to touch her skirt, and it doesn't crumble


"No, her skin," he hisses.

We dance near and I brush her bare leg

softer than a baby after a bath

growing new


When I meet her startled eyes

my own skin turns brittle.