The Painted Skin

by Kit Fan

Some nights I turn hetero, grooming lost ones on the streets,
walking my feet to sleep.

October ends. The moon is a hook. High-wind. Everyone wants
some clouds to play with.

A long figure emerges from a neon corner. Hello, Wind! she said,
though she could have been a he, or it.

Aren’t you scared walking alone in this wind? I said.
Aren’t you too, it said,

Have you seen A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night by Ana Lily Amirpour?
Yeah, just last week.

I’m not a vampire, you know. (Its face is still in the shadows, assuming it has one.)
We’re not in Iran either, I said.

How do you know, Sir, it said, if there’s an East, Middle, Far or Near?
What are you?

From the dead; I have no abode. It turns to the alley smells of weed and urine.
I follow and laugh along.

It takes off its skin like a snake undressing and what’s underneath is raw
flesh, featureless, brittle as jade.

Help me, hold it up like this, give me your phone, I need the torch.
I duly oblige.

What do you want me to be tonight, baby – man, woman, animal, or you?
I want you to be yourself.

It snatches its skin off my hands and rushes down some crevices like the wind.
I wake with hair in my mouth.