In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Dermographia: (Desire)
  • Emilia Nielsen (bio)


More than some accounting of notches, scrapes? This birthmark, that mole. More than description (decorative script).     To stray, surface. Dig a little. Become floozy, flimsy: dermographer?*


Mosquito, fireweed. Whiskey and hairpulling. Biting, lucent. Skin reeling: meteorshower and thumbtack. Tender, teethmarked: spit tarnished— [End Page 143]


surficial surgical

not k(not)

superficial sacrificial


(but not limited to surface)

necessarily sketchy*


Salt air and pine. Finding footholds, diving. Bracing. Breaststroke and tug. Undercurrent, clamber. Rock, warm body. Skin burnished: sunkissed, burning— [End Page 144]


Want skintight. Want floodlight. Watertight. Want high and dry. Want waterlogged. Hammered. Want waterproof. Floodgate. Want moonshine. Want want.


Expectantskin: blue vein and collarbone. Unpeeled, articulate. Overfull:—.

fracture friction fiction refraction resistant resilient refuel rapture rupture wrap-it-up



Electricskin: falter. Rewire, —.

refraction a fraction distraction ruckus fracas fuckthis languor sordid

wrench [End Page 145]


Cityskin, scrawling: asphalt and tar, double and single yellows, white lines, red. Joined brick: shit-painted, feathered common (crow, seagull and starling.) Concrete walking path, overpass. Turf, riot of thistle. Razor wire, rat skid: skunked.


Marked pen-ink tattoo, ballpoint fly-on-the-wall: that skin’s vernacular of

belt and vein, tedium and

(keep it opaque): resist scab-picking

(keep it raw-boned)*: eke it threadbare. [End Page 146]


(scar tissue): lacks   skin’s elasticity: different,      laminate: scar tissue         can’t stretch move


cicatrisation: decorative scarring, (mark characters); knife- edge, ink; parse phrases, gun whole words dermograffiti* [End Page 147]


skin = noun (verb):

hide (cover, conceal)

pelt (assail, assault, attack)

coat (smother, spread)

membrane (shell)

film (filter)

bark (peel)


skin = verb (noun):

peel (rind, husk, wrapping)

graze (scratch, scrape)

pare (skin)


Need permeability. Superfluity. Need possibility. [End Page 148]

Emilia Nielsen
University of British Columbia
Emilia Nielsen

Emilia Nielsen has a bfa in writing from the University of Victoria and an ma in English from the University of New Brunswick. She is a phd student in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of British Columbia and holds a Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral Award) from sshrc. Her creative work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Descant, Event, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire, Prism International, and Room Magazine. Her manuscript of poetry, Surge Narrows, is being read by Canadian publishers.


* (dermographer): skinwriter. Charting desire’s force, skin’s text? Tête-à-tête. Untrustworthy: doodler, doodling...

* (sketchy): skin’s evocation. Tricky. Never the whole —. (Seemingly, infinitely) pliant. This impressionable surface: elastic, restrained. The brain plastic: gappy, gaper. Keep it together.

* (raw-boned): desire’s skin. Force, forward motion. Impulsion, consumption–Capitalize on (skin’s charming) neediness, necessity. Improvise: swap and sway. Riff.

* (dermograffiti): skin littered, lettered, lexical Tagged: solipsistic. Sloppy pas de deux: medium and meaning.



Additional Information

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pp. 143-148
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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