October 26, 2012

Robert Funge

TATTOOS

I have a friend who has tattoos
of a skull and crossbones on her arms,
and sandpaper scars, and down her spine

multicolored butterflies; a tender lady
who talks of redemption, and often
washes my pain away.

.

Sometimes, I am my father,
who thought a laugh worth any price
if paid by someone else,

or my mother,
weeping the morning long
for no reason she could think of.

.

All my tattoos are inside my skin,
of Mom and Dad, and caterpillars
down my back. My scars

don’t show, but when I speak
you hear my father, and my mother
when I can’t. Sometimes it seems

that tender only enters me
when paper words escape
the silence of my pen.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

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