My Crocodile Body
I pick at the skin around
my nails, a replacement for biting
them, and sometimes I am surprised to
find my skin still soft. It always looks
the same, but it should feel like the rough
hide of a crocodile. I lie
to strangers. I claim to be younger
than I am so that
it is illegal to bother me, I pretend to
have teeth. I pretend I am
a protected species.
I have a long face, even
when I smile: teeth interlocked, breathing through
my road rash skin, I would never try to intimidate, but
I don’t want to fix my ability to make proselytizers
leave me alone, I don’t want to fix
the assumptions people make about swimming around me.
I am young and ancient and unchanged.
Darwin doesn’t like me.
I could change, I do
sometimes, but I am only good at one thing,
I am so good underwater, that nobody else thinks I should change,
Nobody would call me static, or unadaptable.
Only specific. I am specific.
Ava Ploeckelman is a junior studying Biology and minoring in Classical Studies. She is a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, which technically makes her a frat bro. For fun, she takes ballroom dance classes. She hopes she will never have to use it for high-stakes international espionage, but she is prepared for the possibility. She participates in an URCA laboratory that studies termite microbiomes, and denies any allegations of being a mad scientist.