Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Tattooed Poets Project: Cheryl Dumesnil

Today's poem comes to us from Cheryl Dumesnil.

Titled "Triangle Tattoo," it appears in In Praise of Falling (University of Pittsburgh Press 2009), and also appeared in Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (co-edited with Kim Addonizio, published by Warner 2003).

Triangle Tattoo

Wood-planked floor, twelve-foot

ceiling, a wall of glossy snapshots—

dragonfly, water lily, barbed wire

spiraling a woman’s thigh. The artist

bends over my love’s shaved leg,

his palate of paper cups filled with ink.

Through her skin, three finches

emerge on a blackberry branch,

ink mixed with blood beading her calf.

For the third time, I run downstairs

to the car, slap the gearshift into

neutral, roll over the parking cop’s

chalk mark, buying us time. Hours

I sat beside them, telling stories,

changing the music, rubbing color

back into her fingertips. Now

I lean against the car and listen—

the buzz of his needle piercing

her skin, the heart-shaped sign

swinging its rusted chain. This is

my job—he will change her body

forever, I will love what she becomes.

Be sure to go over to Tattoosday and check out Cheryl's tattoo here.

Winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of In Praise of Falling, editor of Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall, and co-editor, with Kim Addonizio, of Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Indiana Review, Calyx, and Many Mountains Moving, among other literary magazines. Her essays have appeared on,, and in Hip Mama Zine. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and their two sons. Visit her at

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