1. Home
  2. Describing Tattoos to a Cop by Brenda Hillman
Describing Tattoos to a Cop

Related Poem Content Details

After Ed Sanders

We’d been squatting     near the worms
            in the White House lawn, protesting
the Keystone Pipeline =$=$=$=$=$=$=>>;
            i could sense      the dear worms
   through    the grillwork fence,
            twists & coils   of flexi-script, remaking
the soil    by resisting it    ...    
                           After the ride in the police van
             telling jokes, our ziplocked handcuffs
pretty tight,
                      when the presiding officer asked:

— Do you have any tattoos?
— Yes, officer, i have two.
— What are they?
— Well, i have a black heart on my inner thigh & 
             an alchemical sign on my ankle.
— Please spell that?
— Alchemical. A-L-C-H-E-M-I-C-A-L.
— What is that?
— It’s basically a moon, a lily, a star & a flame.

He started printing in the little square

MOON, LILY, STAR


Young white guy, seemed scared. One blurry
      tattoo on his inner wrist    ...     i should have asked
            about his, but couldn’t
 cross that chasm.     Outside,   Ash
Wednesday in our nation’s capital.     Dead
               grass, spring trees
about to burst, two officers
           beside the newish van. Inside,
              alchemical notes for the next time —
Source: Poetry (January 2016)

More from this issue

This poem originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Describing Tattoos to a Cop

Related Poem Content Details

  • Search every issue of Poetry

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine. Search the whole site

Other Information

  • Browse Poems

    loading...