The Blemished Skin of America By Grace Stalley

The Blemished Skin of America

There is a birthmark scar
on my left backside cheek
like an ink-spilled punctuation.

My mother and I met as strangers,
she held out her arms to me
and I became an American.

I pledge allegiance to the scars of our country.
I don’t know if they can recollect
who wrote on them first either.

This America
breathes life through
your mouth and mine.

Its skin is split and draining out
to the largest organ we share,
a continuum of fleshy exchanges.

My skin whispers yellow and olive
the sun and earth having cradled it for too long
before my mother finally emerged to carry me home.

Our great blemished states are murmuring
a crescendo into the ear of its own spotty tissue,
take me home.

By Grace Stalley


Grace Stalley is a resident of Brooklyn, NY and works as a writer’s assistant in the television industry. She is fascinated by the divide of cultures represented by each region of the U.S. and how those cultures inform one’s perspective. At the age of two, Grace was adopted from China. She grew up in a small suburb outside of Tampa, FL where her family still resides, in addition to Ohio.

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