Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grandmother's Tattoo

Maggie stares at the tattoo on her ankle
the same moment
a boy with a baseball cap
hoists her on his skateboard.
Her breasts are buttoned to his back.
               Who is he?
Together they speed past car door handles.

A stop at a traffic signal turns purple.
She looks down.
The tattoo--
                Where is it?
       Gone    and so is he.

Before coming to occupy 
the bone of her ankle,
the tattoo first appeared on her grandmother,
a woman who kept truth near,

until the tattoo peeled loose from her foot
with the crazy-glue of family history.


She wants an officer to file a report.
Get someone to draw a character sketch.
Post the picture with the tattoo on the Internet.

Instead, an off-duty cop slides a board beneath her feet,
confiscated from some young punk, 
points out its gold rimmed wheels and rhinestone studs.

He told her to handle the board 
like a certificate of completion and to go forth.

Before she could say Harry Potter,
she'd zoomed past several fire hydrants.

The board had its own life and she was gaining balance,
everything coming quickly.

   Tomorrow is today.

        Office of the Alternate Defender.
            As long as you have dinero.    

              Isle of Silk.

All the time she was growing up,
her mother had sunk the tattoo 
at the bottom of a couscous jar. 

Mom didn't know how to wear the tattoo,

and now Maggie, its legitimate heir,
had become victim of some freaky tattoo marauder 

who'd galloped away in the night like a bridegroom
kidnapper without an amber alert.

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