Shelter Made of Skin by Julia Dobel

You’ll never see my hands naked.

My fingers will always be dressed in polish:

beige, magenta, lavender, black

The skin around my nails always torn like sleeves

from a t-shirt on a 95 degree summer day.


People say the eyes are the window to the soul

but they seem boarded up, closed, with the

sign “evicted” tacked onto the chipped wood.


Hands can’t hide behind boarded windows;

that’s why our souls live in our hands, for

they are the instruments that lead a

pen across a paper with the words of our

poetry, the bouquet of bones that stroke

a lover’s cheek, and the feathers that

tickle a piano’s keys.


If fingers are blades of grass, my mouth

is a lawnmower. My soul is tearing apart

its home, leaving skin peeled off and

hanging like loose shingles and blood

dripping from a broken gutter.


I find myself noticing other people’s

hands, watching for callouses, teared skin,

bruised knuckles, and moist palms because I’ve

always tucked my hands underneath my

thighs in order to hide my beaten up fingers

which reveal the medieval battle going

on in my head.


Eyes are empty rooms where our souls

once lived. They live in the shelter of

our hands, a little too bare for those

who care to look.






Julia Dobel is a sixteen-year-old from New Jersey who’s been writing poetry for the past three years. Other than writing, she can be found obsessing over Grey’s Anatomy and Parks and Rec or listening to Demi Lovato and One Direction. Most days, she’s on Tumblr as well. Follow her at

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