Tattoo

Tattoo

 

by Carl Dennis

 

If the body is the house of the soul,

 

What’s wrong with a little home decoration

 

More permanent than the drapes in the parlor

 

Or the fabric on the dining-room chairs?

 

 

A forearm, say, adorned with a tropical flower

 

Or with a palm tree under a deep blue sky,

 

Suggesting the body is glad to recall

 

Its stay in Eden, whether or not the soul

 

Regards that episode as relevant now.

 

 

Or consider the young waitress

 

Who served you lunch just an hour ago,

 

How her sleeveless blouse revealed

 

A small heart on her shoulder

 

Inscribed with two names, Dave and Gretchen,

 

Under a sprig of lilac.

 

 

No need to assume she’s failed to imagine a time

 

When a boyfriend more congenial

 

Wakes up beside her only to be reminded

 

There was once a Dave who was all she wanted.

 

 

Could be she wants to send a reminder

 

To the Gretchen she may become

 

Not to forget the girl who believed

 

That holding on was a project worthy

 

Of all the attention that she could muster,

 

As much a challenge as letting go.

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