by Rachel Voss
Hashtag healthy skin.
Hashtag clear skin.
Hashtag skinny skin.
Hashtag peeling off the skin.
Hashtag substitute skin.
Hashtag Hannibal Lecter.
Hashtag inside out.
Hashtag ethos of makeup.
Hashtag pretending to care.
Hashtag sharing is caring.
Hashtag cheekiness *isn’t* daring.
Hashtag some hoe.
Hashtag dumb, yo.
Hashtag drama, tho.
A woman on TV says, “At 60,
I had crepey skin”—I hear
“creepy” instead, and turn to look up,
plunking quarters into the washing machine.
A well-manicured stage audience creepily
claps behind magenta shift dresses.
I’ll patronize myself, thank you
High-fives for grandmas one would like
to bed. I think about my own recent obsession
with skin care regimens. My youthful self
wouldn’t recognize the impulse, or
the skin itself, actually lovelier at this exact
moment than it ever was at 15 or even
25. But at what cost? What sacrifice
to what god, what bargain with what
devil? It’s Friday night, and I feel
all right, caked in an inch of mud, soul
evaporating in place of the moisture I
desperately try to keep on my #face
#me #mine #metime
#seasalt #sea #tide
“…a parade of panic in different outfits.” (Marc Maron)
Who is leading this
thing I mean I
can’t see anything
from here for all I can tell
there’s no beginning and
no end we snake
through the streets like an
ouroboros ouroboros you
know the one eating
its own tail kind of like
the human centipede I mean
Plato said his own waste
providing his own food gross
right but everyone keeps telling
me I need to “get out
there” and meet my
shadow and I just say I’m all
I need anyway when I see
us all out here or at least
the ones directly in front of and
behind me the only thing
I can be sure really
exists are the many costumes
we all put on panic for
instance is the thing with a
sheepskin on its back trying
to court the moon I stayed
up too late and drank too
much last night court is
too nice a word for it there’s
tricks in the world as with all
love stories somewhere some
god is snorting with glee
at my terror but I guess
it’s just that shadow again
me multiplied like the echo
of a lonely whisper through time or
a single shout in this throng either
way it’s lost in the spiraling out
endlessly and it’s also somehow never
gone so what do you do
with the versions of yourself
is it better to burn out
or fade away be torn apart
or to waste into nothingness
like the last bit of air blown
through the reeds all of these
people scare me what if
there’s a stampede take me
anywhere that’s wild
I know my death is just
an allegory but I feel
dead all the same I wonder
what everyone else is wearing
under the polyester marching band
uniforms and cheerleading skirts
probably just more layers of sweaty
synthetic fabric more outfits
under the hair and the hooves
this one’s the real me I’m
telling you I make the whole
Pop culture trades in nostalgia for the near past,
so that the things we think we miss just appear past.
The past isn’t even past—who said that? Memory:
some cerebral jukebox in which to catalogue the dear past.
Goonies never die—neither do 80s movies.
No shrines, glass cases, emblems of an austere past.
Let’s take it way back. The middle-aged commodify
time travel. Little houses on the prairie, we pioneer past.
Who keeps this stuff? The life that’s archived before it’s lived.
Can’t really go backwards or forwards, domineer past.
When I die, wrap me up in the funny pages.
Today’s paper moulders; even now is just the veneered past.
Rachel Voss is a high school English teacher living in Queens, New York. She graduated with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature from SUNY Purchase College. Her work has previously appeared in The Ghazal Page, Hanging Loose Magazine, Unsplendid, Rat's Ass Review, 3Elements Review, Silver Birch Press, Bodega Magazine, and Alexandria Quarterly, among others.