we identify each other in joy,

by pain, by our ceremonial tattoos, what is

and amounts to ritualistic burnings—like,

in the dark, I feel the

spot where someone dared you to put a cigarette out, in the rain,

on your flesh. Joyfully,

your fingers brush the jagged “x” that is

was supposed to stop my breath. We is

like anthropologists, we explore like

scientists each other’s damaged pasts, the

keloid I got in ninth grade, dancing in the rain

making happy faces with my lighter, the joy

of youth, the circle of blue dots all the world like

my mother’s polio vaccination scar, the

damage a twelve-year-old did with a safety pin and India ink, the rain

splatter-marks, dents of Braille graffiti on your chest—this spells “joy”—

made by a drunk stepfather, too many years to count, it just is

we are

never completely naked


Holly Day
Holly Day is a travel writing instructor living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and two children. Her most recent nonfiction books are Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, and Walking Twin Cities.