In My Skin

By Thomas J. Erickson

I’m reading an article about nuclear power making
a comeback that mentions mosquitoes are protected
from the effects of radiation by drinking beer.

In Chernobyl, the poor saps in the fire brigade thought
copious amounts of vodka would inoculate them. Then,
their skin turned black and their innards turned to gruel.

I dream that the scratches on my hands and feet are stigmata.
I awake, to my sad regret, that it is my psoriasis

which is the worst in winter when it makes me want
to take a paring knife and gouge the seeping sore out
of my wrist like one of Gloucester’s eyes.

One of my favorite places to go in LA is the La Brea Tar Pits.
Sabre tooth tigers are way cooler than some Hollywood
fucker’s handprints on the “Walk of Fame.”

Every night, I dab yellow goopy tar on each red mark
on my skin just as the doctor prescribed.

I move through the times of my life with the faint aroma
of doomed prehistoric beasts while the mosquitoes
await their next beer before the shit hits the fan.

Thomas J. Erickson grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English Composition from Beloit College and a law degree from Marquette University. He is an attorney in Milwaukee, where he is a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets. His award-winning chapbook, The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom was published by Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin Libraries in 2013. His full-length poetry book, The Biology of Consciousness, was published in 2016 by Pebblebrook Press. His chapbook, Hailstorm Interlude, was published in the fall of 2018 by Finishing Line Press. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016. He lives in Whitefish Bay with his wife, Daphne, and is the proud father of Charles and John.

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