Journal of Writing & Environment

Bare-skinned: A January Webrove

by Michelle Donahue

January marks the time when weather starts getting cold. Really cold. In most parts of the country there is always snow in January and even if there isn’t, chill has settled in and big, bulky coats become an every day staple. Certainly, no one shows much skin in January. And so, the inner Californian and heat-lover in me, thinks it’s important in these cold times to remember warm, bare-skin weather.

So in this week’s web-rove, I bring you three short pieces, one from each genre, that feature skin, specifically women’s skin.

“My Birthday Suit” poetry by Mia Sara (on PANK)
This inventive poem on growing old inverts the ideas of clothing and nakedness. I admire the brutality and sadness and I love how the narrator describes that she is turning inside out.

“This Land is My Land” fiction by Samuel Ligon (on The Fiddleback)
This short piece packs a powerful punch. Though skin certainly isn’t a main focus of this, a girl “with the skin condition” becomes one of many people who cannot be happy in the narrator’s imagined “intellectual property”. This work is about the illusion of happiness and the illusions inherent in all of our lives.

“In Our Skin” nonfiction by Diana Cage (on Brevity)
The prose here sings. This beautiful essay touches on skin and heat and love. The beauty of two women, hot and laid out on a quilt juxtaposes wonderfully to more serious ramifications of heat—burnings, deaths by dehydration and more.