Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by aamiraimer on Pixabay

No more pictures they’re all gone
So no way to look at you
Just a name on my arm
But it’s only a tattoo

You know it’s hard when you fall
When there’s no one to catch you

I’ve fallen before and love was there
But now it’s only a tattoo

No more mail it’s been torn
So no more words to latch to

Just 5 letters on my arm: Maria
But damn, it’s only a tattoo

In jail with no resources no pens only pencils
I wish I could use the ink in my arm
But it’s only a tattoo

Confused how a little needle could
Leave a permanent scar

I saw the ink on the needle and flinched
Before it went through
The artist looked at me and laughed and said
“It’s only a tattoo”

Thought you would be on my arm forever
I bet that’s what you thought too

But whoever invented removals thought the same 4 words
It’s only a tattoo

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Mark is a writer incarcerated in California. He writes under first name only.