Pierce Impressions

Madison Grapes

Madie Grapes

Skin’s sebaceous glands form residue and every touch leaves behind a print. My mother cringes at my repeated signature over her glass door.

Three distinct features create custom friction ridges: arches, loops, and whorls—your own womb story.

Identical twins don’t have identical fingerprints.

In the fetus, the basal layer of skin grows faster then the other layers, the outer epidermis and inner dermis. The fetus touches the womb and the skin layers buckle, fold, wave, wrinkle, dip, uplift, all in smooth directions forcing formation of complex shapes.

Nature’s soft fingerprint, Sahara’s dunes, rippled sand.

Air, water, dust particles and molecules form the sky’s fingerprints: cirrostratus.

Once, we pressed our fingers into the ink. Rock the finger one time from left edge of nail bed to the right, a trail of black impressions barely remembered in the twenty-four sensory branches of fingerprint’s surface. Gentle release to avoid smudge. The art of dactyloscopy.

Ocean’s wave curls, whirls, the pristine arch imitated on your dry fingers, but the liquid saturates your skin, furrows the surface, and distorts your own original arch’s beauty.

My left ring finger resembles a topographic map of Cranberry and Tea Creek at the Monongahela National Forest, but I’ve never been there.

I saw the sliver of my finger next to the drops of blood pulsing from the small hole I created in myself—capillaries throbbing at the exposure. I hate the sound of X-ACTO blades scraping against metal guides, cutting through paper. No sound is made when blade penetrates through flesh.

I didn’t make a sound when I cut you from my life. Only the memory of our fingers’ elevated creases connecting, the imprint of your lips pressing mine—the question of a possible red mark of your incensed hand on my cheek, the exposure of your black impression when you formed my new pet name, bitch.

No prints are ever the same.

1 Comment

  1. Love the last line!

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