Featured image: Oyster catchers, from the National Park Service

I’ve been growing pearls
on my skin.

opaque, bulbous–
The first glance, I was
tempted to pinch one
between my fingers and squeeze.
Ungently, urgently,
with dirty fingers.

I couldn’t believe it
when it popped out
in a perfect sphere.
I couldn’t believe that my face
had made something so beautiful.

My face was covered in them
so I thought to keep going.
A necklace could be
exciting. A bracelet
for a friend. Earrings
for my mother.

By the time I had finished
the dixie cup was full
of pearls of all sizes.
Beautiful gray white pink–
A little bit of red too.

And my face was
a pulsing, oozing
crater. And I prayed
that when my face
would heal, I
could tear it up all over again.

Claire Carlson is a senior at Marquette University studying Writing-Intensive English. She has an interest in poetry, editing, and the arts.

National Park Service, “Oyster catchers,” Department of the Interior (12/2/1980 – 5/1995): https://catalog.archives.gov/id/42200653.