a poem by Nat Mulkey*

My 5th tattoo done by Sandra Burbul who works out of Somerville Massachusetts.

Sharp pain greets my shoulder
My shoulder sighs,
This again.

Your hand has a flag,
Of your country
The IV at the center, poorly placed
Covers it in blood.

I wince, breathless
Skin getting red and raw
This one is bigger than the last
Only halfway done.

Near your ribs in calligraphy
Names of your children
Pulsating above your
Nervous heart.

Hours pass
The outline is complete.
Shading and color still to do
My hand trembles.

A finger drags along your abdomen
That is where they will cut
And enter your body.
Your hand reaches

I needed this
To stay, feel alive
My voice

You wanted this
To rid the burden
That plagues your

Look, hold me.
Our hands together
Not alone
Knuckles white, waiting for
The better, the end.

*Author Bio: Nat Mulkey is an 3 rd year medical student at Boston
University School of Medicine going into psychiatry. They enjoy
exploring different forms of writing including poetry, reflection, fiction,
and non-fiction as a means of processing clinical experiences and
releasing creative energy.



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