COLOURED IN

We’re all mistakes

The universe was an accident

Happy or otherwise.

I regret my tattoos less than

My parents regretted my existence

Both a lesson in forgiveness

Too easily forgotten.

 

My Gran lived sparingly

Windowsills, table-tops bare.

Her cupboards harbouring

Cutlery, tins and crockery

Rationed for just us three.

 

But if me or my sister tripped up

We’d scuttle the concrete steps

To stand at Gran’s door

Smiles welling like the blood

To receive

Her only willing offering:

A plaster.

 

Fixed like a medal,

Patterned to depict our particular valour:

Stars, cartoons, aliens.

 

Scraped knees were holy at Gran’s.

So when dad was screaming like mum from Hell

Fuckin mistakes the both of yer

Yeah, we felt like a bruise

A graze of a body

But that made us pretty

Pretty cool

Look this one’s got a race car on!

 

Tattoos seek the ugly,

The regrettable out of every corner of us

And kiss it until its blushing beautiful.

They give mistake another name

They’re medals,

My Gran giving me plasters from the grave.

 

‘Cos christ am I scratched up

I don’t want to cover up

With any temporary denial

Make up like I’ve not got

Ugly busting through my skin.

No, make me dangerous,

Colour me in

With my grateful

My- I’m trying

Here, look at my scaffolding.

 

Some people only needed plasters,

Content to keep themselves

In albums, the internet, notebooks

Or just neatly in the minds of others.

But my rough edges don’t fit so clean.

I’ve been cutting things out of books

And magazines and posters

Ever since I can remember

I’ve felt like a cut-out.

I just want to be collaged

Down into my accidental existence.

I just want the sunlight stitched across my skin,

I want all my scars covered

With my own inked forgiveness.

 

 

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