SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Kinky Ink by L. Shapley Bassen

          “…looking at tattoo biopsies under the microscope, scientists saw macrophages laden with ink globules, and the story of tattoos became one of the immune system."  

New York Times

         

 

 

It’s ancient, likely prehistoric,

your skin hieroglyphics,

as unwelcome in the human body

as baryonic matter in the universe

where we are altogether graffiti.

Was the Beginning then a Big Tattoo,

a signal bugle of sound, not light?

Matter becomes mind we don’t know how.

Nevertheless, the scrawl that appalls

macrophages who engulf, engorge,

but are eventually replaced themselves,

echoes your tattoo. I lack kinky ink

myself. I’m penned with scars. 


L. Shapley Bassen's "Portrait of a Giant Squid" was the First Place winner in the 2015 Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest. Her "What Can the Matter Be?" was the title/featured story in the special Kenyon Review Online's "Poetics of Science" issue. For six years, she was Fiction Editor for Prick of the Spindle. She is the indie-published author of the novel Summer of the Long Knives (Typhoon Media, 2014); the collection Lives of Crime & Other Stories (Texture Press); and Showfolk & Stories (Inkception Books, 2017). She was a finalist for the 2011 Flannery O’Connor Award, was a first reader for Electric Literature, won the 2009 APP Drama Prize and a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship, and is poetry/fiction reviewer for The Rumpus, among several others. A native New Yorker, she’s grateful now to be living in Roger Williams’s Rhode Island. Visit her online at http://www.lsbassen.com.

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