Claddagh Tattoo
The illustrated man trembles
as he holds the tattoo machine
to her wedding finger,
thin as the leg bone of a finch.

She’s his new girl
holding her bouquet
of sleek black roses
against the tight black leather
of her dress.

She gazes up at the needle-tipped roof
of the old, converted church.
She feels his pressure
as the outline of a Claddagh ring
stains and gently breaks her skin.

He takes the needle to his shoulder
and etches over and over
the Claddagh Irish love symbol -
two hands clasping a heart
surmounted by a crown -
all the way down to his wrist.

She presses red-lipped kisses -
onto his eagle
his black panther
his tree without leaves
his love hate knuckles
his always Stephanie
his forever Pamela.

Karen Knight

If you have any comments on this poem, Karen Knight would be pleased to hear them.