Musings #20

Tattoos

Orphaned, shunted from one home

to another, on his own at twelve,

shoveling cow dung in the stockyards.

Warmed by their green breath, he says

he saw gentleness in their doomed eyes.

All winter he wears sweaters that keep him

covered. A shock in spring,

his short-sleeved shirts unbuttoned

reveal inked designs up both arms,

around his neck, even on his chest.

Like a rancher’s brand,

his mark of belonging.