Relax, it’s only henna! I get a Mayan tattoo on my lower leg every time I go to the beach. It fulfills all my contradictory impulses.
Change of Mind
Tattooed pierced and branded, or to be marked for life
with patterns carved into the skin with a sterile knife?
I cannot help but tell you that I find it very strange–
this trend to decorate ourselves by means that we can’t change.
When I was in my twenties, I bought a gorgeous hat
of pink and blue with colored plumes that swayed this way and that.
But what if I had had it sewn forever to my head,
so when I desired a wedding veil, I had feathers instead?
What if those chandelier earrings I found so cool in my teens
were implanted so I couldn’t take them off by any means?
So when I trekked across the jungles, weaving through the trees,
those earrings caught upon the vines and brought me to my knees?
My hair would be a helmet, and my eyes would look so queer
if worn like I did at twenty with eyeliner ear to ear.
So I cannot help but think this child with corks stretching her lobes
might regret them in her forties as she dons her judge’s robes.
Or the youngsters with the tongue studs, one day when they are men
might regret it as the shots they drink leak out onto their chin.
I’m so glad those mini skirts I wore—a poor choice even then––
are not still sewn upon my hips now that I am more Zen.
Thank God those darker outlined colors that made our lips less thin
and those psychedelic tie-dyes are not printed in our skin.
For although our taste was laughable, at least we can repent–
for the choices that we made in youth were not permanent.
And, that hat mentioned in the poem? It really existed and still does, although no, I have not worn it in over 40 years. Here it is, a side view!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tattoo….You?.” Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?