Second Skin | Megan Duffy

Second Skin | Megan Duffy

I am arrested by an animal notion.

In the car on the drive home, the wheel
beneath my hands feels foreign,
transplanted from an unknown age,
an inoperable object to be grasped
by feral fingers. Panic rears beastlike
as the eyes in the rearview mirror
howl savage songs, performing rituals
under harsh street lamps.

A familiarity slinks beneath the discord.
An ancient need is expressed,
revealing the secret throne which
all lovers crawl toward.
I have noticed it before, in the glint
of the moon on a wolf’s fang
and in the constant way the shoulders
shake during bouts of weeping and sex.

Just as the spines of cornered
creatures sharpen in alarm when
their captors draw near,
just as roaches scatter back
into their crevasses when a light
switch is flipped,
just as tree dwellers skitter
fitfully toward the promise of fruit
dangling from unreachable branches,
I unearth instinct from long forgotten
dirt, embracing it.

I recognize it now, the song in the mirror,
rumbling through my blood
like broken dam water.
It is the clawing need to adapt,
to slip off the old heavy skin.


Megan Duffy is a Michigan born poet currently living and working in Las Vegas, Nevada. She studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada and in the annual Marge Piercy Intensive Poetry Workshop. Her work has been widely circulated locally.