She says, It’s my birthday. I’m going tomorrow.
What's your favorite font? What should I
have him write? Serifs, I say. I like serifs.
I like old typewriters, the keys little platters.
I don’t answer the question about what to write.
The vellum of her back. I am not her mother,
who later weeps at the words written between
her shoulders. I get ready to retract the idea of serifs,
the pennants that pull the eye from one word
forward, but the eye loves a serif. When we
handwrite, we stop to add them to I. Read this
word like typeface, make me always published,
I am always a text. Write this on your back,
I want to say. Write that you are a lyric
and flying – serifed, syntactical. Becca chooses
Make of my life a few wild stanzas. She lies
on the bed while the artist marks her back,
his needle the harrow for her sentence. Make of
my life a place to stand, stopping-places, a series
of rooms, stances, stare, stantia, stay. She has
shown him a bird she wants perched above the final
word, stanza. It is a barn swallow – ink blue flash.
He says, toward the end, so she can know it will hurt
to ink so much blue, I am filling in the stanza now,
and he stings her right shoulder again and again,
filling the room of the bird. Make of my life
a poem, she asks me and him and her mother
as she walks away, make of my life something
wild, she says. I watch her strike out across
Number 10 Pond, the tattoo flashing with each stroke
and there is barely enough time to read it.