Tattoo

By ROSANNA OH
As you undo the cuff links in your shirt,
the waiter taps me on the shoulder
and tells me that we are the last customers.
Your fish is cold.
I am waiting in the restaurant, thinking you have gone to piss—
instead, I order dessert
as you press yourself against the sink,
scratching at my name,
scouring me with water and soap.

Go ahead, check it again—
you bend to see the tattoo under your navel,
a simple black fact.
We are in Paris, not touching, not holding hands—
you complain that it is difficult to be cultured,
to be accustomed to the open avenues,
the street-side bargaining,
and now, the rawness of the food.
Look, they have shut the doors,
they have turned off the Debussy.
In the darkness, the midnight bells break across
the stirring ink of the Seine.
Come, then, let us both act like men now,
like men who have tattoos.

 

Rosanna Oh is currently an MFA candidate in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Originally from Long Island, New York, she now lives and writes in Baltimore Maryland.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 02 here.]

Tattoo

Related Posts

Messy desk in an office

May 2024 Poetry Feature: Pissed-Off Ars Poetica Sonnet Crown

REBECCA FOUST
Fuck you, if I want to put a bomb in my poem / I’ll put a bomb there, & in the first line. / Granted, I might want a nice reverse neutron bomb / that kills only buildings while sparing our genome / but—unglue the whole status-quo thing, / the canon can-or-can’t do? 

Leila Chatti

My Sentimental Afternoon

LEILA CHATTI
Around me, the stubborn trees. Here / I was sad and not sad, I looked up / at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever / speak to me again, beyond / my nightly resurrections? My desire / displaces, is displaced. / The sun unrolls black shadows / which halve me. I stand.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say. / They just can’t say anything back.