Martha Silano Address from the Konga River, Wild Waves Theme Park

The natives tattooed, profusely pierced.

On the left pec, Nicole. On the right pec, Kris.

All day my daughter shouting Another belly

button ring! In line for an Icee, a woman’s

back entirely inked. Too far away to read it,

but I’m betting it’s Thomas Stearns: Time present

and time past / Are both perhaps present

in the future / A time future contained in time past

So many peach-fuzzed paunches. Innumerable

boobs, innumerable asses. So many flip-flops

here beside this river of pipes and cement.

I am the only person over fifteen without a tattoo.

If I had a tattoo what would it say? It would not say

Nicole. It would not say Kris. It would not be T.S.

Maybe it would be a page from Roberts English,

how to find books in a library: A card is made

for each book; these cards are filed in a catalog.

Maybe a review question: What’s the etymology

of exit? Sometimes so much water drumming down

on our heads we cannot see. Sometimes longing

for the Big Gulp. Our human world pelts us with either/

or, with eternal present, the past foggy like a pair of goggles

in a steamy pool. We can’t recall what our friend recalls,

why we decided not to apply to Barnard, doesn’t know

the eternally present time past now future

of incessant like dripping water you stupid dummy,

insists what I tell her isn’t true. Eliot is so right.

No wonder she suffered the needle for that tattoo.

I watch my daughter climb to the purple slide, holding

tight to her tube. It’s almost unbearable, the sun

bearing down and no book: I had come to the house

in a cave of trees; sun and reflection wheeled by. I’ve never

seen so many men with stretch marks. It made my girl

so happy to ride in the One of Hearts, to gorge herself

on chicken tenders. Power-Ade and garlic fries. To ride

in front, hands above her head like a genuflecting wave.

The newborns and the lost, the just falling, the long-

married, the teens and tweens and middle-aged,

all waiting their turn beneath the convoluted tubes,

all entrusting themselves to the ones in charge,

all believing what’s written on a body persists.

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