My little sister, I can say—
though I lay no claim
having only met her once—
got a tattoo today. Before
a high school degree, after
a hair dye: Bon Appetit
uncurls low across her
abdomen. She posts a pic of a friend
pretending to lick the soft
red skin. It’s well-spelled & centered,
she didn’t skimp on ink
or professional hand.
She’s sixteen & wearing sex
like a band t-shirt she can’t strip.
Who was the first to dress her
like this, so now she paid
to print herself a welcome sign.
This tattoo is the kick drum march,
the bridge from her child’s smile
to the hip bones & breasts she insists
to dip into every picture. O let
every flaunt, every curve, every striped
tank top, eye outlined in black
be a love song. Yes, let us praise her
bones, wrapped in muscle, wrapped
in skin. Praise ponytails, praise her feet
that carry her through night,
her outstretched hands that break
the fall. This song acted out
in the club with a fake ID,
at the house party, let it claim every open
dance floor, may it claw her a path
through the thick paws of wolf-vines,
she’s still too young to name.