A Conditional Skinning

Khristy Knudtson

Dislocating cuticles with tweezer’s bend,

excoriation is discomfort’s friend.


Chiseled tips snag freckled carapace,

lunulae caves, in ruby’s embrace.


Splintered nails with reduction’s labors,

shoved through gums as phalanges’ razors.


Gingivae swim with urged intent,

deepening lesions while molars ferment.


Pores packed with oil parasites,

antennae emerge in pressure’s paradise. 


Lashes freed from eyelid’s hold,

naked brows as proof untold.


Time amplifies, an itch desired,

repetition is the habit’s prior. 


Satisfaction lasts on whim’s design,

reprieval found when feelings align.


Wounds start their fibrous journey,

a knitted collagen taxidermy.

As a high school English teacher, Khristy L. Knudtson encourages her students to be vulnerable risk-takers even when they don’t necessarily share her passion for reading and writing. Knudtson graduated with a BSE in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. In May of 2019, she received her MA in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry from Southern New Hampshire University.  She has four poems published in The Penmen Review and twelve articles published on The Mighty where she is an unapologetic mental health advocate.  Forever toeing the line between sensitive and sardonic, Knudtson lives in Wisconsin with her husband and cats where she keeps herself caffeinated enough to know when it’s an appropriate time to speak her mind.


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