Vicki Feaver
-for Alasdair
You watch me rub Vaseline
into my elbows’
scaly armour.
The skin, you explain,
is of the same embryonic
tissue as the brain:
you read in your patients’
rashes and brushes
an uncensored text.
With you it’s your knees:
weeping blisters drying
to a hard red crust.
Another million years
and our soft surfaces
could have toughened
into clattering shells-
we could mate like tortoises,
be impervious to love.