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Mothers write about their children: A poem from Tracy Mishkin

skin artist
by Tracy Mishkin

for Noah

your flesh my canvas     cortisone cream
the dots of Seurat     no brush     my finger
shades salve to skin     rough red
rash     morning bathe paint     evening
paint sleep     my hand my palette  Elidel    
Vaseline     moving easel     no model
paid to sit     still impatient impasto
greasy splotches     scream resist    dismiss
my art   quilt reed basket coiled pot     my son
my canvas     masterpiece respite
itching redness open sores

Bio: Tracy Mishkin is a career immigrant. Born in academia, she taught in Georgia and published two books on African-American literature, then disappeared, resurfacing in the land of non-profits with the Bureau of Jewish Education in Indianapolis. Three years later, she was spotted across the border working retail at the Uniform House before she immigrated to the corporate world, where she resolves insurance problems at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Finishing Line Press will publish her chapbook I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s in 2014. Her work is also forthcoming in the Reckless Writing Poetry Anthology 2013 and has appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Poetica, and in the Focus 9-11 section of