Skin remembers how long the years grow when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel of singleness, feather lost from the tail of a bird, swirling onto a step, swept away by someone who never saw it was a feather. Skin ate, walked, slept by itself, knew how to raise a see-you-later hand. But skin felt it was never seen, never known as a land on the map, nose like a city, hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope. Skin had hope, that's what skin does. Heals over the scarred place, makes a road. Love means you breathe in two countries. And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass, deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own. Even now, when skin is not alone, it remembers being alone and thanks something larger that there are travelers, that people go places larger than themselves.
Naomi Shihab Nye - 1952-
Once with my scarf knotted over my mouth I lumbered into a storm of snow up the long hill and did not know where I was going except to the top of it. In those days we went out like that. Even children went out like that. Someone was crying hard at home again, raging blizzard of sobs. I dragged the sled by its rope, which we normally did not do when snow was coming down so hard, pulling my brother whom I called by our secret name as if we could be other people under the skin. The snow bit into my face, prickling the rim of the head where the hair starts coming out. And it was a big one. It would come down and down for days. People would dig their cars out like potatoes. How are you doing back there? I shouted, and he said Fine, I’m doing fine, in the sunniest voice he could muster and I think I should love him more today for having used it. At the top we turned and he slid down, steering himself with the rope gripped in his mittened hands. I stumbled behind sinking deeply, shouting Ho! Look at him go! as if we were having a good time. Alone on the hill. That was the deepest I ever went into the snow. Now I think of it when I stare at paper or into silences between human beings. The drifting accumulation. A father goes months without speaking to his son. How there can be a place so cold any movement saves you. Ho! You bang your hands together, stomp your feet. The father could die! The son! Before the weather changes.