The Sting Means It’s Working

Amy Rossi

It is a raw thing, skin. So exposed to the world, so open to the elements, to the danger, to the slings and arrows of living. The largest organ in the human body, of the human body. A leather of our own making. The bristle, the blush, the scar, the goosebump, the shiver, the sweat – it is all its own secret language. Say I do not need and I do not want and I do not obsess and I do not care, say it with your chest flushed red, that vein purpling through the fine flesh of your forehead, and there you are, betrayed. I am fine, you say and the soft undersides of your arms prickle with the lie and you have to shift to stave off the chill. You can try to spare yourself, but doesn’t the body have a way of seeking what the mind won’t give it, pumping pheromones into the air like this is all one big perfume display counter and not the lonesome and desperate gliding by of strangers. If you’ve ever dragged something sharp along the untouched tender of your forearm just to make sure you’re still here and can feel and haven’t gone to the invisible place, then you know all your life is right there below the surface, it is living and living things have to consume and swallow and beat and grow, and you can pretend otherwise, but you’re going to have to feed it eventually. And all sunscreen is is a bad metaphor.

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Amy Rossi is the managing editor of Split Lip Magazine. Her work has previously appeared online in Wigleaf, matchbook, and CHEAP POP, among others. Find out more at amyrossi.com.