Tattoo Parlor Talk
Once I had twenty-two holes in me,
I got over it and let them close.
I’ve no idea why people get pierced.
Now tattoos cover the owner's face and scalp.
He shows me a man, lying face down,
his hands gripping bars to manage pain
as needles puncture the back of his arm.
That’s a tender area.
When we have several customers
we lock the doors. Got to concentrate--
we’re putting stuff in bodies.
Most clients come as art collectors,
Some seek pain…plus a souvenir.
He ghosts about the house,
reminding me to take out the trash,
to push the can for pickup,
find the paper in the bushes,
and to start the coffee.
He’d do it, but he’s gone on retreat.
We each practice losing the other.
He’s stronger, can cope with more,
but odds favor me to be the one
to face loneliness, figure finances,
and master the thermostat.
I try to twist open a jar of jelly,
and he watches, wishes me well.
by Jeanie Greensfelder
Psychologist, poet, Women's Press writer, Hospice of SLO volunteer . . .
Papilio troilus Caterpillar
I might envy my friend’s
finding a spicebush caterpillar
on a red sassafras leaf,
how he gathered foliage to feed it,
how he’ll watch it cocoon,
and see the unveiling in spring.
I might wish I owned the caterpillar,
green with big black and yellow eyes,
so friends would think me clever and able.
I might want to be envied for my butterfly.
A cat, attuned to bird calls,
turns toward tree after tree,
like me at Baskin Robbins,
imagining each flavor.
The cat limps
and I can’t have dairy,
but we dream on.