An Ode to Shade by Ann Thornfield-Long

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An Ode to Shade by Ann Thornfield-Long
Illustration by Sue Babcock

Narrated by John C. Mannone


I cannot shed
my casing
by scouring my skin
against a rock
like a snake.

If I cannot escape
my own skin,
how can I dress
in yours? I am itching
to know the mystery,

how it feels
to be behind
your glasses.
I want to sleep tight
in your pajamas,

ride the early bus
in your colorful suit. No
zippers or buttons.
I don’t want to go back
to the illiteracy

of my own rind,
the comfort
of my well-worn husk.
I leave it, white as fleece,
where it fell.


BIO: Ann Thornfield-Long is a co-author of Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage (Crawford and Smiley, 2013), is a winner of The Patricia Boatner Fiction Prize, Is published in Riddled with Arrows, Ekphrastic Review, Artemis Journal, and other publications and anthologies.