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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 2, June 2013


Peter Newton
Winchendon, Massachusetts, USA

Under His Skin

I am staring at the tattoo on the side of some guy’s lower leg. Trying to figure out what the words say without being obvious. Looks like a trademark or a copyright symbol at first. But bigger. Maybe two inches across. When I focus, I can read the six words that circle under his skin:


Whenever I see a tattoo I often think of Emily Dickinson. Her opening lines, “This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me.” Seems so many tattoos are shields. Attempts at strengthening the shell we call skin. I am strong. I am beautiful. Wonder what tattoo Emily would’ve gotten had she been given the chance. Maybe an anklet of buttercups. Words would’ve been too confining. That’s what I’m thinking anyway, head down and holding onto the subway pole, as we barrel through the city. I think the guy with the “Little Life” tattoo is fed up with people trying to figure him out. Or maybe he likes strangers talking about him hours later.

New Year’s Day
one by one
I return to my senses



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