phoenix by Caitlin Conlon

27 days.
that’s how long it takes for the human body
to completely shed its skin.
27 days
for a redesigned landscape,
from the valley between your first and second toe
to the creases that form on your forehead
whenever you think about the last 648 hours.
how unfamiliar soap now feels against your kneecaps.

what I’m getting at with all of this
is that I’m currently existing in a world
that’s never been touched by you.
one that’s unable to recall
accidental kicks
or shoulders brushed in crowded rooms
or hands that should’ve fit together
but never quite did.

if we bumped into each other within a checkout line
it’d be like meeting again for the first time.
I’d cross my fingers
and my lips would bleed.
you’d sandwich my name between a hello
and a look of surprise
and not know to feel guilty about that.

but this is okay.
the boy I shared smoke with
27 days ago
is not the one
buying overpriced tea in the supermarket.
you seeped through my epidermis,
directly into my bloodstream.
swirled up through my vital organs until everything seemed
now your silhouette carries a pickax
because apparently fool’s gold isn’t just
reserved for fools.
or maybe it is.
either way,
I don’t want my skin to know you anymore.

I’m just grateful that I knew you
when you were a person I could’ve loved
so terribly, so fiercely.
back when you were invincible
and I thought I was too.



Caitlin Conlon
Caitlin Conlon is an aspiring poet of 19 years old, and she frequently relies on her plants to remind her that she's still growing. Currently an English Major at the University at Buffalo, she has previously been published via Thought Catalog.


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