to ponder the origins of marks on skin
the first thing I notice are her scars:
she's a wandering tomboy
with more cuts and scrapes
than a hardbody Buick in an action film
but she's never been broken
I chart them as she sleeps so I can write poems later
these fingertips can still recall them
the way surgeons never have nightmares
about patients they save
but they're haunted by the faces they lost
she says she wears her scars like a constellation
I chart them like Galileo
trying to map her ancestry
circumnavigating her body as if Magellan
hired me as helmsman
and only I can get us safely home
every scar has a story
the way men who ink themselves
on every square inch
from big toe to eyebrow
can name the tattoo artist
and heartbreak behind each symbol
if she let you close enough to nap with an ear on her chest
you could hear the heartbreaking discord
as her mother's violin and father's oboe
played so selfishly
they forgot they had a daughter in the orche
'It was quite damaged after the accident, so we couldn't save it,' the woman is saying. She is dressed smartly, with her hair scraped back into a high ponytail, and she looks a bit like a headmistress, but she speaks quite kindly. 'Most of the contents were unharmed, though, and so we've put them in boxes for you to look through it's a fairly long drive from here to our destination.'
There is a brief silence, during which she gets into the car and puts on her seat belt, and then she seems to finally notice that I am gaping. 'Ah,' she says. 'We did tell you that your mother was a photographer, but I think we may have forgotten to mention her voluminous archives. Impressive, isn't it?'
I nod as I seat myself beside the boxes of photo albums and shut the car door. 'Very.'
I watch the world slowly become a blur through the car window as we accelerate, and then I turn to the boxes. Carefully, and somehow hungrily at the same time, I reach for an album.
If the guide had emotions it would be feeling a mixture of boredom and disgust. Only the richest of each species could afford to go on this particular space cruise. Though the android had to admit that this job was better than, say, being a crew member with a red shirt.
"All right, if you've seen enough, please follow me into the debriefing room," it chirped, gesturing at the passengers. It led them away from the sight seeing deck and deeper into the craft. A buzz of excitement could be heard from the crowd as they walked down the hallway, eager to finally get
dropped off at the last-
Death needed to use
the head and to get
something to eat.
Now Death sits and drinks
endless cups of bad coffee
because none of the truckers
want to travel that last 68 miles
with Death riding shotgun.