The poems in Inked chart a course of departure and return. These are finely-crafted, musical poems, attentive to the world’s rhythms in an Ohio apple orchard, at a Midlands train station, in the throbbing life of the South.


I went alone, bared the scroll of my back
to Big Richard whose fingers spelled T-H-I-S

I-S I-T when he fisted his hands together.
“Won’t hurt,” he grunted, and I wanted to say,

“Richard, I’m here for hurt.” He pressed the gun
to me, its needles thrusting in and out faster

Than I could separate. Henna-colored ink pulsed
under my skin, and I felt the shape take form,

The circle spiral in. Sweat under my breasts,
on the back of my neck. My body gave itself

To needles. My vision blistered with light.
At home, I peeled the dressing away

To stare at the welt—to remind myself
what the body can do, what the body can say.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.