A big shout out to Big Tent Poetry
for the prompt.
Every night my
diminutive tattoo artist
comes to me. He
mixes his own colors.
“One of a kind,” He says
“That’d be you Lily.”
When Andy asks me my pleasure, I
leave it to him. Still he asks.
Standing on a stool, his needles ink
fables into three rings on my upper back.
He feeds me cream puffs
to “broaden his canvas.” I watch
in the mirror
as Andy illustrates
a likeness of Larinda
falling from October’s Foal,
eyes wild, lips unfurled. These times
For 25 cents, people get to peek
through a window into a room
where I sit bare backed,
facing a round mirrored vanity. My
armpits pin a sheet over my breasts.
Sometimes, one of the people catches
my eye and we stare through the mirror
in private thought.
My gaze intensifies until they look away.
Freak, we think.
“And here she is....
Ladies and Gentlemen
long-legged and lithe
Give it up for
Lovely Larinda and the Lipizzaners!”
Lily is the lovely one. Stories spill
from her skin.
Under my breath, I blaspheme sequins,
adjust my headdress, and
tighten the rhinestoned reins
to stand upon October’s Foal. Later
Andy’s needle will seal my soul, as his
ink reveals my love
through my shoulders
down my back.
Every person packing the Big Top
vouches for Andy’s story telling tattoos.
Veracity and vision.
I nod, and
on the stallion.
I fear death while falling to it.
(The ladies love it when I lace
luscious stories to the
bodice of their skin. )
My pens print pictures by themselves
the needles ink them in.
The stories inside remain silent
until they speak through skin.
From afar, I watched Larinda
as she combed her long bronzed hair
She stood upon her stallion
and whispered to a mare.
Before Larinda met her death
I drew a tat for Lily’s rings,
it depicts the precise moment
before the end of everything.
Lily will not know the love that
shone from Larinda’s face when she
asked me if I’d ink a scene,
Lily in her embrace.
Instead the horse,
when it throws her,
makes my needles sing:
Larinda and the Lipizzaner
lunge through Lily’s ring.