sometimes skin

Allusive and abstracted, Monica Mody's "sometimes skin" grows more dense, definitive, and richly rewarding with each rereading. We are united by the mystery of our selves.

sometimes skin, we think
stops world

wind within

we are small, we think

risks too much

mind wants to possess
every twirl of leaf in air

border condition: tense

must keep out
           tremendous mystery

protect our

guard its banks


fear is old
practically a fossil

ghosts have lived in her mouth
as long as history

ice congeals eyelids

she flakes at banks we try to cross

immotility, not


world of straight angles

make it linear, we learned
between angles, fall

I tried to tame
what I was
           in contact with

it gushed back in my face


thick with forms

dignity trapped
in manmade
           dirigible of
colonial shame

worldviews that sliver off

savage civilized
subdued from speaking
           of those

I keep them secret
even from myself


skin has a million tongues

points to divine capacity
to mingle out of
           porous self

brushing my palm
on tree moss

I sense myself as knower

intuitive flash in body

           moving across
no longer compressed


space swept with
breath & void

rubicons darken

flit with sharp rapids

what slips between
           lights its mist

faces in trees nod

this, me, human
to not much else
just my rightful
           place in world

fear will not
keep us
           small & folded

we, who are
mysterium tremendum

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Monica Mody

Monica Mody

Monica Mody, PhD, is a writer, educator, and dancer advancing earth-based and decolonial feminist worldviews. Dr. Mody comes to her writing, scholarship, and poetry as a cross-genre, border-crossing practitioner. Her dissertation, titled "Claiming Voice, Vitality, and Authority in Post-secular South Asian Borderlands: A Critical Hermeneutics and Autohistoria/teoría for Decolonial Feminist Consciousness," received the 2020 Kore Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Mythology awarded by the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. She has also been a recipient of the Cultural Integration Fellowship Integral Scholarship (California Institute of Integral Studies), the Sparks Prize (University of Notre Dame), the Zora Neale Hurston Award (Naropa University), and the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing. Dr. Mody was born in Ranchi, India, and lives in San Francisco on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land.

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