Swallows never fly far into the ocean
and dolphins dive and breathe in two worlds.
Some favour initials on fists: vida loca;
happiness all through eternity. 

There are teardrops; spiders webs
at the elbow; mis-spelt girlfriends
gone as clothes grown out of.
Here, graffiti is carved on skin.

Artists work their style on leather;
a pig’s trotter holds a miniature
as dark as Caravaggio. Cherry blossom,
koi fish, barbed wire setting distance.

A hannya mask in the kabuki style
tells of a woman consumed with rage
after a kicking from her lover;
a sculpted voice cast to the winds of time.