Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grandmother's Tattoo 6

She listens to his notes dapple the cottonwoods
with sadness and laughter that reaches
toward outstretched leaves.

When Mew finally raises his face from the chin rest,
he signals with his bow toward her.

She must play her part and find Section P.

She says good-bye and walks, the same way he told her,
alongside a rock wall covered with moss.

Her gold hoop earrings play hide-and-seek in her dark hair.
She doesn’t want to get lost.

What if she meets her grandmother?
Will she be angry at Maggie for losing the tattoo?

The stone wall keep winding around.  Stone steps go down.
There is a woman whose skin is the color of moonlight.

In shopping aisles of the dead, she says,
waving her fingers at a swarm of fruit flies,
some of us get marked up and some of us get marked down.
We all get buried in the same store.
Now that’s what I call a bargain!



Her grandmother’s silver hair is stuck at the back of her neck with bees.

Life is a seasoning that tenderizes us,
breaks down our rough edges so we can bend. 
Come closer. Tell me how you’ve been.

Maggie traveled this far on her skateboard to get some place,
goes there now.

Maggie says her mom died several years ago.
Dad is gone for most of the time,
sits in a restaurant and drinks wine.
Worst of all, Maggie has lost grandma’s tattoo.

Does grandma fill up like a water balloon and burst?

Instead she explains how during the war,
she buried herself beneath a haystack and escaped,
tattooed numbers above her wrist.

Until the other day when a messenger boy
gave her the same tattoo. That’s when numbers joined each other like Siamese Twins and shared bloodlines.

Where each number began and the other stopped,
stuck together like teeth to candy.  

Grandma scooped something from the dirt,
fixed it above Maggie’s ankle.
No numbers in the red.

One world.

There on her ankle, a glowing orb.

No countries, boundaries.

My granddaughter, tell them.

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