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Largest organ of our bodies,
packaging in which who we are is wrapped,
outermost defense against contagion,
liaison with earth, air, water, and fire,
conduit for our mucous, blood, sweat, and tears,
anchor for our lashes, brows, locks, and moustaches
—from pubic hairs to sideburns,
from down-like fuzz to beards—
means by which we understand 'to touch,'
sieve through which our senses all are channeled,
suppleness we celebrate in photographs, art, and poetry,
 wrinkles we accumulate,
complexions we admire,
blemishes we regret and essay to conceal
—warts, moles, rashes, pimples, blisters, cankers, melanomas,
hives, styes, liver spots, cysts, scabs, boils, welts, and wheals—
as prone to bruise, scrape, and lacerate
as it is to mend, scar, and heal
palette for tattoos,
locale for perforations,
base for make-up, sunscreen, and war-paint forms of
camouflage,
tool for grin and grimace,
for scowl and smile alike,
our mask and our identity,
both reflection and disguise,
 epidermis, flesh, hide, birthday suit,
integument, carapace, pelt,
membrane porous yet waterproof,
crust protective, durable, and sometimes callous-hard
yet ticklish, vulnerable, receptive
and otherwise known as...
Skin


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