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Valentine (or Why I don't need a tattoo)

by Bet Yeldem

Sometimes I want a barcode tattoo
that scans as the numbers of your name
and what suns we were born under
that make us burn this way.

I want the readout to be a list of our firsts --
dates and grid distinctions of locations on the earth,
on our bodies.
I want it there permanently
not so I can remember,
because who could ever forget,
but because I want to announce it
to people who cannot imagine
that this is possible
that love exists
that I, being me, am able to finally feel
what it is
meant to be.

But you don’t like tattoos. And I don’t care about that
as long as you like the canvas
on which they’ll now likely never be.

Sometimes I want to tattoo “breathe”
into my wrist
across the vein that practically pounded through
my skin
begging to reach air itself
hoping for a glimpse
of the summer sky in 1992
but you said I don’t need the reminder
anymore and it’s true.

Instead, I want my breaths
to match yours starting today
because I’m impatient
and in love
with you, a man I thought was as lost to me as
girlish dreams of fairytales princes,
as lost as my own once-upon-a-time
innocence and misspent youth.

It makes me
want to pour out apologies
like wine during a lover’s feast
over all the time
we can never have back.

But you shhussssh me
and tell me
it doesn’t matter because we have
all the time
that’s left in the world,
in our matching heartbeats and breaths,
so now my permanent announcement, by default,
has become the glow in my face,
the sparkle in my eyes, and
the light in my smile that says
to all the world
that I found everything I need in you.

They tease me, and so do you, but I don’t care about that
as long as you love
the part of me that radiates
underneath this skin
on which tattoos will now likely never be.


Posted on 02/07/2009
Copyright © 2024 Bet Yeldem

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 02/07/09 at 07:22 PM

I wish I could play around with language the way you do...this is outstanding and just a lot of fun to read and take in.

Posted by LK Barrett on 02/13/09 at 07:56 PM

...a joyful noise is what we have here, tightly curled around a new rose of a love...thank you for the bubbly-ness of it all, and oh yes (because of hearts afire) its careful, delicate resolve...lk

Posted by Maude Curtis on 02/14/09 at 12:51 AM

Wonderful! It makes me think about the love I thought I'd lost and have found anew. Thank You

Posted by Dave Fitzgerald on 02/14/09 at 01:38 PM

Excellent. My skin is unmarked by ink too. Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/14/09 at 04:01 PM

Really a fine POTD! The sense of looking back and now forward gives this real depth. I really like how you describe your "permanent announcement". Thank you.

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