The Canvas

April stretched out on the chair in the tattoo parlor. Nervous and excited at the same time. She’d finally decided what to do with the scar from the accident that made her feel less than beautiful. It was a long scrawl down her side. The barbed wire had caught and torn her skin when she fell out of the tree. It hadn’t bothered her until her last boyfriend had made some crass remark. It had broken her heart.

Then she read this poem online. Somebody who went by the name TheNaughtyPoet. It had zinged through her like peppermint or champagne bubbles. April liked it so much she’d memorized it.

Write on me
I am a canvas

Make your mark on me
Cover my scars with your colors

Tattoo my skin

That’s what had given her the idea to tattoo a vine and flowers over the scar. She’d shopped around for hours to find a guy who didn’t think she was crazy. She laughed when  her buddy in the market turned out to be a tattoo artist. Jeff had her draw out a design and then he improved on it.

Erase my past
Recreate me

Draw me into something new
Something fantastic

The sketch he’d shown her was like an affirmation that she was doing the right thing. It was like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. Intense colors and he even promised a special surprise. Now she was here waiting.

Jeff walked in and smiled at April. She was beautiful, but some idiot had told her a scar 8 inches long made her damaged goods. If he knew who it was, Jeff would have tattooed Idiot on his face for free.

“You ready to start?” he asked.

April nodded and bared her side. She’d wore a sports bra and a skirt so that Jeff could access her side. He swabbed her skin and then placed the pattern on her skin. The tattoo would follow and camouflage the scar. Once the transfer of the design was done he began to ink in the outline. When April flinched, he waited until she was steady. Then he’d begin again.

April lay there and thought about the poem again. She looked up into Jeff’s eyes. He smiled.

Lay your rainbow pallet upon my heart
Cover me with your universe

Let my eyes feel your vision
Let me see your stars

Everything written
Permanent on my skin

Jeff worked quickly and started to fill in the color on the design. He had his special ink off to one side. He’d found a good ultra-violet ink and it would only show up under black light. He smiled as he worked.

April crossed a line where the pain didn’t hurt as much. The endorphins had kicked in and she drifted back to the poem as Jeff worked.

Your vision
Carved forever
In flesh

Making us unbreakable
Interlocking our souls…

Jeff finished the tattoo. It had taken nearly three hours to tattoo the vines and flowers on April’s skin. He wiped her side down and then covered the area with salve. He handed April a mirror so she could see his work.

“Oh Jeff. This is beautiful! Better than I anticipated. Oh wow,” she said.

“I’m glad you like it. Keep it moist and cover it with a bandage for a few days. No sunbathing either,” he said.

“Okay. You said you’d do something special. What?” she asked.

“Come back in two weeks and I’ll show you,” he said. “I close the shop at 8pm. Come by then and I’ll take you to dinner.”

“Deal!” April paid Jeff and headed home.

Jeff was getting anxious. It was nearly 8:15pm. He’d closed the shop, but left the front door unlocked. April was late or not going to show. He was anxious to see her again. He’d loved how she moaned softly as he’d tattooed her. He’d smelled her arousal too. Jeff wondered if she knew she was getting turned on by the pain of the needle. Lots of women did, but April was special. He’d about died when she’d walked in a month ago and asked him to cover that scar. He’d known her for a few years. She ran a farmer’s market stall across the plaza from his shop.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the bells on the door. He looked up to see April. She had a smile on her face. “Hey there April,” he said.

“Hi Jeff! I’m back and I think it healed up well,” said April.

“Well, let’s take a glance,” he said.

April lifted her gauzy top and showed off her tattoo. It had healed well. Jeff ran his hand over it lightly feeling for keloids. Nothing.

“Well?” she asked.

“Beautiful,” said Jeff. “Come on back, I have some dinner for us if you don’t mind. I’m starving after a long session like tonight.”

“Okay,” said April. They walked to the back of the shop where he’d set dinner on a small table o his patio. It was cool after the heat of the day and he’d lit candles. “Jeff, this is great,”

“It’s just salad, bread and cheese,” he said pouring iced tea.

“Yeah, but I like this kind of stuff,” said April. She sat and they started to eat. Brie, pears, Carr’s Water biscuits, a green salad and thin slices of prosciutto ham. They ate, talked and relaxed.

“So, what is this special thing with my tattoo?” asked April after they’d cleared the table.

“Come with me,” said Jeff. He walked towards his bedroom.

“Jeff?” asked April wondering if it was some kind of cheap come on trick.

“Don’t worry April. My black light is in here,” he said grabbing a small lamp with the distinctive purple bulb. “Come stand in front of the mirror.” He turned it on and turned off the bedroom light as April stood in front of the mirror.

“Now, lift up your shirt,” he said.

April lifted up her shirt and as she did so, her tattoo came alive. She stood there in amazement. It was beautiful. Each flower highlighted in glowing ink. Then she noticed something else. Along the vine that was the scar were words. Small, but just readable. “Jeff? What does that say?” she asked not being able to read it clearly. They were backwards in the mirror.

“Um… you were humming that poem, the one you like, and that part where it says ‘Everything written, Permanent on my skin’, and how the person wants to be changed, healed?” he started.

“Yes,” she asked.

“Well, I wanted to do that for you. I wanted to say something permanent that would make you whole. I knew why you wanted that tattoo, and I…” he stopped to catch his breath and equalibrium.

“Yes?” she said feeling the emotion pour off of him.

“I… Damn this is hard. It says, ‘I am loved. I am worthy. I am beautiful.’ because you are,” he said at last. “And I did it in ink that could only be seen if the secret was shared. I wanted to be that first one to share it with you.” He sat the lamp down, so that it still illuminated her skin.

April looked at the tattoo again, seeing the words on her skin. It dawned on her that Jeff was saying he loved her. Tears pearled on the edges of her lashes. “Oh Jeff,” was as far as she got when he swept her in his arms.

“I love you!” he whispered into her ear. “You are so beautiful.”

April was lost for words. Tears ran down her face, soaking his shirt. “I… I’m an idiot. You’ve turned me into my poem. Oh…” she gasped realizing all the implications. “I love you.”

The black light sat on the floor, illuminating the two lovers as they finished the transformation between two souls interlocking them into one.

I’d like to thank TheNaughtyPoet who’s poem can be found here. It isn’t often that a poem moves me, but this one just sang. I’ve written my ‘song’ to compliment the beautiful poem. Thank you dear. I hope you find it worthy.

10 thoughts on “The Canvas

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      1. I do the same thing. All it takes is one word and I see an entire write. But I have to put it down quick or it’s gone. I have parts of things written receipts, napkins, backs of notebooks. An entire lifetime of poems just waiting to be written.

        1. LOL! Gee, I don’t know anyone like that. 🙂 It’s also why Wolf is afraid sometimes about what I’m going to pick out of the air during a conversation, because he knows things set me off and I write them. Your poem was just beautiful, and I had to write what I saw, which is why I asked your permission a few weeks ago. Thank you again.

  1. I read this yesterday and was deeply deeply moved. How beautiful. I loved the poem, too, What a lovely commingling of images.


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