| February 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

Once at dinner with a few friends, I was asked why I chose to get tattoos. I explained that I believe people are mosaics, largely shaped by the ways we interact with others, forever leaving fingerprints on one another. For me, tattoos are a visual representation of that phenomenon. Anything I learn at the hands of another that strikes me as profoundly important, I choose to keep it physically on my body. I hope to leave this planet wrinkled and scarred and painted in such a way that people can see the life I’ve lived. Like a friend of mine said, “It’s like pulling your story out from underneath your skin.”

There have been so many people in my life to whom I owe parts of me. If I could afford a tattoo for each right now, heaven knows I’d be in the parlor this instant. For now, a different kind of ink will have to suffice. I hereby dedicate four lines of poetry to each person who has ever changed my life.

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

I once knew a photographer
whose hands were stained with ink and lipstick,
whose eyes were blurred highway streetlights,
who painted her face for the art, not the glory.

I once knew a soccer player
who paved adolescence through leaves and trees,
who taught me toughness on a trampoline,
whose desertion birthed my self-reliance.

I once knew a girl
made of rope swings and tree houses
who whispered “sisterhood” over a nighttime candle.
She echoes in the raw skin of past.

I once knew a person
whose words were all echoes.
A mouse bound in razor wire.
Her eyes were televisions.

I once knew a Sikh
who plastered on bubbles,
who gave wine (to strangers)
wrung from her own veins.

I once knew a teacher
who evened my wooden legs
and set my paper ship sailing
into the teenage night.

I once knew a Christian,
a foal in the sunshine
who redefined lovely,
her coat on my back.

I once knew a writer
whose words were glass sculptures,
who molded “dainty” and “strong”
into a plate of moonlit noodles.

I once knew a redhead
drenched in Disney honey,
secretly adored for her 
slow-motion star-eyes.

I once knew a hermit
who clawed into water,
who screamed stains into eggshells,
whose words burst or were nothing at all.

I once knew a survivor
of drunk behind headlights,
who “went to and fro apologizing”
and cut off her hair.

I once was a girl
a lonely blank canvas,
waiting for someone
to color me in.

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Category: Art and Literature, featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy

Sheridan Aspinwall

About the Author ()

Sheridan Aspinwall is a junior in Sargent who likes reading stuff by David Mitchell and David Foster Wallace and David Sedaris and, wow, just realized she has a thing for Davids. She's kind of weird and sometimes quiet and probably hungry right now. Often sighted in line at the GSU Starbucks before Culture Shock meetings, Sheridan likes raging against the machine - the machine being the extra 60 cents they charge for soy milk.

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