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This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 6 Number 6, 1976.

Two Poems Grevel Lindop


TATTOOIST

She asked me for a butterfly
there, on her shoulder. No one knows
what goes on under the skin.
I was a man with time to kill
for money, and an art to sell,
patient enough with my line
to take the minimum of pain
filling a chosen space
and never choosing the design.

I worked at a square inch,
a needle nuzzling the skin.
I wiped the blood off where the line
was drawn, a blue embroidery
in the margin of her world.
She paid, and I am free to stay
like the ice-cream man and the clairvoyant
and the others who sell their addictions;
...


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