Tattoo Palimpsest
by Clarence Wolfshohl

A few tendrils of what must have been
a delicate swirl of vine and blooms
creep from the ebony edge
of the calavera, the skeleton
of the día de los muertos motif
rounded on her shoulder. It is
a señorita with mantilla of black lace
and filigree pattern on the face
of her skull. Colors from the previous
tattoo show through the fretwork—
the red of what may have been a rose
glows behind half one eye socket,
the blue of a violet winks from the other.

The black of the new tattoo
darkens her shoulder and arm
like an anger that has eclipsed
the motive for the delicate hues
of primrose and violet that lurk
deep within the señorita’s skull.

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