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Soap Box Poets

Tattoo
© by Charles E. Pratt, jr.

I shut my eyes and concentrate
on the pain caused by the whining and burning
tattoo needle as it slowly plows across the flesh
of my arm
leaving swollen tracks of trapped black ink behind it.

Time melts.

Somehow the pain gives voice to my hurt,
breath to the sadness I am unable to sigh
since you left. 

I feel grief swelling in my stomach
forcing itself up up into my throat.
Hot tears squeeze out of  tightly closed eyes.

I hear a groan escape my clinched teeth,
the invisible weight of sorrow rushing from my lips.
My eyes snap open in self-consciousness
and I meet the gaze of the tattoo artist.

He pauses momentarily
“Hurts, don’t it?” He asks.
I smile a bitter smile.
“Yes, it does.” I reply.

I shut my eyes again and concentrate
on the pain caused by the whining and burning
tattoo needle as it slowly plows across the flesh
of my arm
leaving swollen tracks of trapped black ink behind it.

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