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Tattoo

I asked my
dying patient today
if she had any regrets?
She said,
I wish I
had gotten a
tattoo but
I don’t know what I would’ve gotten it of.
Is there anything more human than that?
To want to have
something permanent to
stamp stand by
in surety
on your arm
on your skin
but not be sure what exactly, yet, still.

Goodbye my dear
You’re “getting the hell out of here”
Swollen feet
Refusing oxygen
These lungs, gasp
are the best lungs, gasp
(she loves her transplant)
Breathing is your prerogative

I don’t even know your name
Or if you’re dead yet
Just a hospital room number
Silver 1101

I think that
eleven floors down
there is a resident tattoo artist
Who tattoos nipples
onto reconstructed breasts
so they look like real breasts
It seems kind of pointless, and painful
16 needles and four tubes in your skin already
the rest of your life
maybe 48 hours
I want a tattoo, too
The funny thing is I haven’t decided what I want yet

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