As Matthew McConaughey might say….
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I’m just two poems away from being caught up with Poets & Writers’ weekly series, The Time is Now. Here’s the prompt from March 21:
“There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter,” wrote Rachel Carson in The Sense of Wonder in 1956. Write a poem centered around one image or sensation you associate with the spring season, using diction and rhythm to evoke the repeated refrains, patterns, and cycles of nature. Explore both the symbolic and physical beauty of your image.
This prompt immediately took me to the tattoo on my right arm. I started this tattoo exactly one year before finishing it, and in that time the me who started it died to the me who ended it. It became exactly what I wanted it to symbolize: a resurrection, a nod to the fact that everything dies and, come spring, everything is born again. Here’s a visual of the journey:
And here is the first and only draft of the poem:
J.D. TATTOOS MY ARM ON SOUTH 18TH STREET
I. May 14, 2012
A windswept chrysanthemum circled my shoulder: the first time
we’d ever been tattooed together was in Boulder, Colorado, after days
of hiking, searching for each other. It was the last time, too.
II. Jan. 26, 2013
Apparently, we were lost. Eight years before, we’d hiked the Dandenongs
after wildfire & saw seedling pushing out of charred Mountain Ash. I wander
into J.D.’s shop: I’m burning, I say. I need you to draw the spring.
III. Feb. 23, 2013
I search for hope in color. It’s been months since we’ve spoken: my husband,
gone astray in wilderness. J.D. cuts another charcoal line; I hold steady
in the clearing, watch his flowers bloom, watch color begin to bleed through.
IV. Apr. 3, 2013
I’ve fallen in love with the banks of the James River: silent witness
to my healing. I shed flecks of dead skin on Red Bud branches and hike,
alone, to Belle Isle. There are places here where one can scream with abandon.
V. May 10, 2013
I walk down the hill from J.D.’s shop to the river’s edge. I am hollowed out
with grief and look down at my reflection. J.D.’s spring painting reflects back
reminding me even in the embers of dying fire, there is still promise of morning.