Mary at the Tattoo Shop

Mary at the Tattoo Shop
by marcus jackson
She counted her money
before we went in,
avenue beside us anxious
with Friday-evening traffic.
Both fourteen, we shared a Newport,
its manila butt salty to our lips.
Inside, from a huge book
of designs and letter styles,
she chose to get “MARY”
in a black, Old English script
on the back of her neck.
The guy who ran the shop
leaned over her for forty minutes
with a needled gun
that buzzed loud
as if trying to get free.
He took her twenty-five dollars
then another ten
for being under age.
Back outside, the sun
dipped behind rooftops,
about to hand the sky over to night.
Lifting her hazel hair,
she asked me to rub
some A&D ointment
on her new tattoo;
my finger glistened in salve
as I reached for her swollen name.

0 thoughts on “Mary at the Tattoo Shop

  1. Over the years, I’ve probably smoked half a million cigarettes (ugh) but I don’t recall a single salty butt. So, these two kids were all hot and sweaty? Maybe that foreshadows the sexual overtones at the end of the poem. Either way, interesting slice of life. I like it.

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