Ana-Maria Dragomir, Tattoo

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At four, Taipei is made of pink and blue

And all the streets are circular.

I played fifty-two games of mahjong

To get here.

 

Your hair was red in Valparaíso – two years ago.

The following year, in Macao, one of your sleeves

Rolled down as you danced the Lakhon

And I could see again the thirteen-petal flower

Branded in your skin.

Your hair then had the burnt shades

Of the school of Siena.

Muted tongues of fire

Quietly licked the flower on your shoulder.

 

At night, the flower  grows enormously

Exhausting perfumes wrap around me

Vegetal, clenching

Till I am weary.

 

My city has risen and fallen fifty-two times

In the meantime.

 

I played fifty-two games of mahjong

To get here

And see you again.

 

I fold the maps in three, in four, in five,

And follow you

Wherever.

 

But as you deal the cards to the dum-dum of this joint

Your hair is blue

The flower’s gone.

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