TATTOO

Her portable garden escapes the terry gym towel.
Unweeded gladiola shoulders.
Arms with petal trails.
Fingers ringed in ovate leaves spin the combination
lock.
Moist, dewdrops, after rain.

“Skin deep” is needles burning pixels into pores.
Who-I-am, was, will be, in inches of fine etched line.
I’d convey not an angelfish but a Moray eel,
not ringed Saturn but a petroglyph herd of cattle.

Petroglyph, that’s it.
Carved into the rock of ourselves we drag crosstown.
Our unremovable standing/sitting/sleeping close-fit
shrinkwrapped armor, decorated
to defend. Or express.
Or ply the gods to return bison to the plain.

My first petroglyph was waist high
in a narrow Utah canyon whose trailhead
warned flashflood.
A handprint, as if a swimmer in the sudden river
repelled the side,
a nonswimmer groped for a handhold.

 

 

 

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