My Sister's Tattoos
She has plans for the rest of her body.
A daisy pinned to her clavicle,
tornados spiraling her thigh.
Down the road, a rainbow
encircling her ankles
so she can step forever into light.
There's no reason
not to have expected this.
In high school, while I was cursing
each scar, mourning the loss of pure skin,
reluctant even to pierce my ears,
she was carving boys' initials
into the backs of her hands,
inking crib notes on the sin
side of her thigh.
I picture her grinning
at a rough-fingered man in a parlor,
who stoops over her tiny body. A prickle
and burn and the colors bleed forward
into bits of lightning, thunderclouds,
a small girl who looks like me.
She's running, this girl, she's trying
to get out of the rain in time,
and the story of her not making it
is told across my sister's skin.
I'm jealous of this skin, the way
it refuses to wait quietly for age or accident,
but makes things happen on its own.
She's filling it in as she goes along,
this map that her body is becoming,
its wreath of dolphins corralling
her navel, its blue explosions, its flowers
that peel open in a wild storm of ink.
Theresa Boyar has had poems published in Slow Trains, Rattle, Megaera, Tryst, Lily, and others. Additionally, a personal website,http://www.geocities.com/theresalboyar is now up & running.