Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
My Son’s Tattoos

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Ammonite lobes and saddles coil
near the scroll of fronds. Trillium kisses pulpit
with point of petal. Agate lines its banded path;
pieces fracture, disperse within
circular orbit. Leaves drift, then settle
beneath the repetition of squares; fractals
display their self-similar pattern. From shoulder
to forearm, the cosmic order of tats.


Mommy, what's the name of this flower?
It's the great white trillium, I answer.
Notice their whorl of three petals, white,
pristine, but never pick them; we must honor
their life. We step to find a jack-
in-the-pulpit, then a fern. Stones next.
Agates. Along the river, we skip rocks.
My brother walks with us; he speaks
of plants and animals, fossils,
constellations, his esteem for science
and our natural world. We listen.


Pristinely rendered echoes of walks and talks,
water and woodlands, tribe and tradition,
my son's arm depicts his lineage. Patterns
of memory, emblematic markings of origin
indelibly etched, form the whorl of his story,
the greatness of his fingerprint, the honor in his ink.

Jeannie E. Roberts writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fifth book, The Wingspan of Things, a poetry chapbook, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.


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