Teeters on the edge of her bench
In a room where the curtains billow into the hallway while the tea light candle
In a station where the train passes on through express to somewhere
[or nowhere in particular].
Counting the minutes until the sun rises
Being well aware of the hours left before the dawn chorus of
Before the city pulse beats again.
not as deeply as she should
only moving to scratch at a mosquito or bite [perhaps]
closes her eyes to see only the same darkness as that which settles around her
~like a midnight persian, settling by the fire
~like the clouds on a moonless night over a field.
Begins to dream of a walk towards the horizon [only to find another].
Yet the lunar cycle pushes away the moonless night to reveal a full moon
And a breeze from a change in season rushes ahead of an approaching train
Causing the candle to flicker briefly.
Not a phoenix from the ashes
Nor a butterfly from a chrysalis
Her metamorphosis congress from when she burrows deep in hiding, underground, safe from civilization, sauntering into the darkness to
Upon returning to the surface,
A new skin
A new beast.
“People come into my shop looking for a miracle and, lucky for them, I’m a tattoo God. They come with this here, horrendous tattoo on some place like their, uh, upper back or on their shoulder. Saw a nasty flaming phoenix just above this young chick’s lady parts.
“Why do they do it? Oh, well some don’t even remember doing it. Yeah, saying they was drunk at the time, or it was a bet, or they lost an arm wrestle or whatever.
“Had a guy come in last week actually, yeah. Had the numbers ‘187’ tattooed on the back of his lower neck. That’s the US code for murderer. Poor man. Came in saying didn’t even remember getting it, kept saying over and over how embarrassing, how can’t be out with his kids or his missus without people assuming, you know what I’m sayin? Real nice bloke, I felt for him. Imagine everyone staring at you cuz you got a target on your back.
” Well, of course I got rid of it for him. Tattooed a pit bull over the top. Seemed like a nice guy.”
Cracking his knuckles and slipping on a cheap ring (won at Coney Island for Amber last summer, rest her soul), Dave pushed into the tattoo parlour. He was prepared this time, cut out smiling children from the catalogues and stuck them in the photo pouch in his wallet, for when he paid the tattoo artist.
Already, the air smelt sweeter.