Red Letters

it was crimson

as my bludgeoned futures

that indelibly inked tattoo

my number

screaming neon epitaph

on the chiseled granite terminus

of membership in polite society.

I scrubbed and dermabraded

bleaching pigment from all skin

in scalding ablutions

I slough off

flawed integument

failed beneficent intentions

peel back scarred gaping flesh

until I stand

grisly and gristled

stripped to creaking bones.

I dress myself in mucilage and plaster

draped in gauzy discombobulation

soak in healing balms

oils of mystical rejuvenation

secreted by Panacea

in deep atrial chambers.

having grown new skin

darkened, disfigured

thick and tough

I dip twisted toes

in edifying milieu

crumple, chagrined

at that shoulder-tap

“aren’t you the one

with that tattoo

the ginormous scarlet F?”




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