how many tattoos will you have by the time you’re 30?
by the time you’re dead?
will you have any ink on your body?
how will anyone know what mattered to you?
how will anyone know who you were?
your clothes, i suppose. their cut,
their quality, how many layers you wore,
what designs were on them.
but you can’t take them with you, can you?
you can’t take the threads with you.
they dissolve and fall apart and break
skin, ah, skin will dehydrate, turn
leathery, if it’s not too damp
wherever you end up.
will there be dollar signs
and oil wells and dead dolphins
and smoke stacks and smog
and smartphones and computers
and car engines and gas pumps
and sweatshop children and
forgotten women and angry men
and hopelessness tattooed on you?
all this ink flowing through our skin
with flowers and ocean waves
and birds and music and fire and
light and trees
what does it mean to have it on our skin
if our lives chase their destruction?
what if the ink ends up being
all we have left?