Paper skin — tissue, not butcher
or cardstock. Thin and dry,
crinkling in ways
that lull you to sleep in libraries.

Too much skin, like king-sized sheets
on a full-sized bed, draped
and folded and creased with dry white lines.
Soft and frighteningly delicate
for such large hands.

My hand in his hand shakes
involuntarily as he shakes involuntarily.
I think of impossible things, like weathered rocks
that crack to reveal more rock,
or an arch carved into a desert cliff, impossible —
how different are these hands, impossible
in the way they absorb light and sound,
and in their weakness.

My hand feels like silk, warm against
My face. It shines, but smells like paper.