The Body, Unsung

The Body, Unsung


I was the earth and the sky and my very own sun


You sliced your scurvy across my starry night

Dug trenches through lands I had yet to discover


Oil welled up from the pressure of you

stinking of sulfur, my songs unsung

so when you were done,

and you flicked on the flashlight to survey your work,

I had a full-body tattoo

in the indelible ink of your adulthood.



These days, when my friends get tattoos, they lovingly oil them;

massage them

bandage their limbs.

This makes them beautiful.


But you –

you just left.


I left too.

I don’t know where.


When I returned, the terrain of that body was unfamiliar


That body

That body,

it had one full sleeve tat of Shame

the other of Guilt

It had a tramp stamp of Filth

And it had your name emblazoned down its spine


not even a toe

could twitch

without passing through you.



I couldn’t feel my own heartbeat

without recoiling at

the barbs you left in my skin


You left me one hell of a wreck to grow into

and the thing about tattoos, is they never come out

They only stretch with time,

bleed sideways though our skin,

and when we’re old and regretful

we wear long sleeves to cover them up.



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