Deborah Leipziger


Written on Skin


In cursive and script your kiss
Is indelibly written on skin.

Even now, the cut from your birth
Echoing the rain is written on skin.

The numbers from a time of horror
Are held written on skin.

Just as the rings record the age of the tree
My ages and years are written on skin.

The wood from the forest for the violin
Its music etched in wood, written on skin.

The umbilical cord coiled around my neck
Is still there, pulsating purple, written on skin.

The parchment of history of storied sacrifice
Is written on hides, written on skin.

In ink and dust, blood and bruise
My history is written on skin.

The newspaper stories of massacre
Collapse and famine are written on skin.

Your touch on my earlobe, fingerprints on my face
Words and deeds unbidden, written on skin.


The phrase “Written on Skin” is the title of an opera by George Benjamin.
This poem was first published in the Muddy River Poetry Review # 11 Fall 2014 where it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.



my hair after you love me

you tug at my curls

brandishing waves of my hair

until my veins

coil and uncoil

open and close


after you love me

my hair holds legends

patterns, wild

containing gestures sun-spoken

spirals and rings


my hair holds us

nerves extending


like Michaelangelo’s beams of light


each scent decoded z

language unfolding





This poem first appeared in ESME, Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere, 2016.



Deborah Leipziger is an author, poet, and professor. Her chapbook, Flower Map, was published by Finishing Line Press (2013).  In 2014, her poem “Written on Skin” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  She is the co-founder of Soul-Lit, an on-line poetry magazine. Born in Brazil, Ms. Leipziger is the author of several books on human rights and sustainability. Her poems have been published in Salamander, Voices Israel, POESY, Wilderness House Review, Ibbetson Street, and the Muddy River Poetry Review, among others. Deborah is the founder of the Jewish Poetry Festival at Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA, now in its ninth year. In 2016, she won a Showcase Writing Poetry Award from the website ESME. In 2018, she will be reading for the fifth time at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem. To learn more about her poetry, go to:
For her work on sustainability, go to: