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Tattoo

by John Wojtowicz

Armed with innocence and deprived of sin,
besides a glass of champagne at his cousin’s wedding
and a cigarette offered to him out the window
of a ’67 Chevy by an urban Mother Teresa,
he entered adulthood without a wrinkle on his forehead.
His edges softened by a mother’s devotion
like sea glass, smothered and sanded by the tides,
she had sculpted a man who wouldn’t leave her.
A postal service job exposed him to the weather
and an education from Playboy, People
Fortune, Sports Illustrated,
and Rolling Stone.
Dreading a future free from turpitude,
he reevaluated every turn he had made, staying awake
to wrestle with the ghosts of missed opportunities.
As his resentment grew with every glossy
swimsuit issue, he lit a few more cigarettes
and allowed an artist to desecrate his mother’s statue
with a needle on unsullied skin, finally embracing
the power of self-indulgence; a decision
as permanent as the ink etched into his body.


 

John Wojtowicz grew up working on his family’s azalea and rhododendron nursery in the backwoods of South Jersey. He is currently employed as a social worker and takes every opportunity to combine this work with his passion for the wilderness. In his free time, you’ll probably find him with his boots drug into the side of a muddy river bank or sitting around a bonfire with a beer. He was most recently published in Stoneboat and The Naugatuck River Review.
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