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.