We are thrilled to offer our third issue, Skin-Haunt, as a salve and a susurration of voices speaking from so many different parts of skin; body and world. We love and appreciate each and all of these works of creation, and hope you will too.
An important note: as you read on into this issue, please be aware that as a publication focused on (dis)embodied experiences, and an issue focused particularly on scars and hauntings, content may emerge that feels overwhelming. We welcome all our readers into the issue, and invite you to read deeper into what resonates, and to care for your own boundaries when and if needed.
Together, our editors decided to change this issue’s theme from ‘Scarification’ to ‘Skin-Haunt.’ This proved necessary as it became clear that the popular definition of scarification is not the same definition that our editors were operating under. Skin-Haunt is a phrase that appeared in the collaborative drafting of the submission call, and it is one we have not seen elsewhere previously. It speaks to the scars, the marks, what’s both absent and present, what is seen and unseen, above and below, what’s left behind, what carries on in skin as memory and story.
This issue is wide-reaching and touches on themes of marking and being marked, of transformation, of colonization and displacement, of violence and harm and loss and wounding and grief, of gathering evidence, of rupture and repair.
Our initial call for work reads-
A place where the wound has closed. A place where the wound won’t bleed even if you need it to.
Rip and scatter, roughed up by this rearrangement of cells. Languages of injury and repair. What happened here.
Not all tearing is visible. Have I torn through you?
Skin is branded with other hands. You can’t tell which did what or who held the hot metal (or sharp blade) to skin. Who asked for it and who begged for it to stop. Stick your head into a well and scream. There is always an echo.
Wounding is not always transactional.
There are etchings that a body holds, there is cutting that a body takes. Skin knows what to do when a blade runs through it. Knows how to take it. First it bleeds, runs red. Then the mending begins. A thin moonlike sliver that hardens where once it hurt. There is a severing of time. There is a break in time. The scar as the edge. The cut as a threshold. A gateway. Interior becomes exterior. Stick your head inside and scream.
Scars to mark time. To mark passage. Scars to encode memory on the body on a piece of a cloth on the soil. Do not salt the wound, the soil, let it close over, let it feed again, bleed again, but remember where the wounding was. Scar like marbled rock, timeline drawn across the body. Reaching through time, changing as your life does. Blending into ourselves, eroding just so.
We are not asking for a universal story of scarification. Rather overlap, overlap, lineage, nonlinear, lines, lines, lines, on the body, or often not on the body, where are the scars that we can feel but can’t see? What is the evidence? Why do we need it? What are the spaces in between?
As always, we are grateful to our contributors and for our readers,
Brighde, Jennifer, Rachel, & Cosi
Derelict by Kerfe Roig [Image: Blue and red watercolors on an unfolded envelope with collage and embroidery at the center.]