Dark Stars


I want to erase all of the sundrenched days my skin has known.

Scrubbing, scraping, burning, bleaching.

“Be careful, you will scrub yourself to the bone.” My mother says.

Bone is what I want, clean and white and unmarred like the pale light of the moon.


“Every freckle is a kiss from an angel.”


Naked against the white sheets,

“Your beauty marks look like constellations.”

The black evening sky inverted.

A white night and dark stars.


“You have so many, you should really get them checked, my friend knows someone that died from skin cancer.”

These haphazard constellations might be the death of me.


You see a body that is white and privileged.

I see brown spots.

“Out, Out damn spot!”

I echo Macbeth and I scrub until I bleed.


Sun angels circling my drain.


Self Portrait

Another hundred dollar bottle with a promise to fade.

Another cold room with a hot laser burning my skin and another promise to fade.

A promise to fade.

To blend, to amalgamate to homogenize.

I want them to fade. I want to fade.


A bright day at the waters edge, I run into the ocean to join my friends

“You have so many spots, you look like a leopard!”

I look like a leopard.

It sticks. For years. Forever.


The hollow needles press flesh colored ink to camouflage my skin.


Weeks later, the proud leopard shakes her pelt after a swim.

Water droplets disperse into the air.

Her dappled coat settles, neat and gleaming.

The spots are undaunted by my efforts.


I look like a leopard,

A map of constellations,

A look out point for lonely angels,

I look like myself.

Dark stars and all.



*Featured image by Kyle Gregory Devlars from Unsplash


About Author


Jaclyn Steinmann

Jaclyn Steinmann is a Santa Barbara native working towards her Graduate degree at Antioch in Clinical Psychology. She is a mental health advocate for NOCD and is passionate about mental health and wellness. She is a published songwriter and lyricist. She is passionate about classic literature and always has a book within reach.

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