Summer turns my skin
to brown sugar, sweet-dark
and speckled. Light

runs its mouth
across my collarbone and drinks
the shadow pooled there.

Even my hair changes–
each strand on my thigh
a sliver of soft gold.

But there are boundaries,
parts distinct and separate
as countries marked on a map.

two islands of white sand and
one deep, quiet valley,

each summit’s
pale unsullied peak bright as salt
in the jagged distance above the seaside town.

Small wars have been waged
for this ungoverned territory,
yet no man has ever died
on its shores.

Has ever the sun set
its white eye upon
my milk-flesh?

It hides even from God.

I know the way.
I show it to you.

Leila Chatti