Not with flowers or poems,
words on the wind, but a sharing of blood
and pain,

permanent ink.
The L is easy – puncture the skin
and down, draw the dyed thread through

and turn. He grits his teeth and
Tears well, magnify his eyes.

Next, I butcher an O into form,
four fish swimming in a broken ring,
lost sperm twitching and dizzy.

Then the V is swift
and clean, two lines become one,
my best work so far.

Finally the E,
the stain complete.
The unspoken signed in flesh.

H should be etched on the next knuckle,
the left hand yin
to his right hand yang,

but he stops me here,
on LOVE,
clenches his fist and reads.


Tattoo was a winner in the Art of Love poetry competition.