A Changeling … Stole My Skin

Editor’s Note

Abbie Cotrell’s PRP journey began in November 2005 at the age of 61. Initially active with the original, email-based PRP Support Group, she became a member of the PRP Facebook Community in 2011. In June 2013, she reached the offramp from her PRP journey. Fortunately, she got back on the road to share her insights with PRP patients and caregivers.

The following poem was written in November, 2012.


About this Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris
by abbie cotrell

I search for words to tell you the horrors
of my illness, tell you about the changeling that visited
that night six years ago and stole my skin…
took my clear, white skin and left instead a raging red
that crusted over, cracked open, peeled away
and fell from me.

I have watched since then,
fascinated by the metamorphosis of my cells.
I examine each silver flake—
more scale than skin—
and think about Martians…and abductions.

I want to scream—
tired of all the skin talk—and then I find them—
those perfect words, there on my young son’s Facebook post
Tuesday, November 13.

“My cat looks strangely at me when I’m naked….”

and there it is—
the laughter that I have needed for so long bursts forth
from deep within to sooth exhausted skin.