Sunburn Treatment


It feels like a chimney fire inside the pipes of your limbs
and you try to keep it from spontanously combusting up
your flue, setting your hair on fire with fever.
You bathe with cold clothes, dress in cold compresses,
discover medical uses for frozen cranberries,
compare icebergs to gelatinous aloe vera,
do a base coat of pepto bismal-pink calamine lotion,
gulp with guilt at the oceans of extra water
while the aquifers drop elsewhere and drips
are savored in deserts as you stand in humidity
and spritz yourself with cold water spray. You
take two cold showers, daily, run a cool baths
soak until your teeth shake, find out
how your skin stretched when you bend and
how much space is taken up by the darting
of goosebumps that pull tender red taut.
You try to balance the burn from within
but still, one burgundy birthspot
the size of an electric iron remains
recalcitrant and peels onion skin thin
bits of irradiated, abandonned skin.
Out of touch with your inner snake
you stake dark territory by day. Dare not
take your injured skin out to see sun.
Blue bones would run from a repeat of this.
Skin is expelled for misbehavior
for the fear-sighted forseeable future.

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