Dropout boogie

by H. D. Brown

I saw the tattoo
a snake curling around a dagger
the type of cliché
a good artist can slap on a jarhead
between beers
I saw it
in the English department office
still outlined in inflamed red
when I signed a withdraw form

He’d gotten it a hundred
yards away in a straight
line between the recruiter’s
office and mine
half a dozen neon bars
three other tattoo shops
along the way
hell it looks like
Portland Maine around here now
if there’s any difference left
between a sailor town and
a college town like this
I can’t see it

that was the last time I saw that tattoo
the last time he saw it
it was lying in the road
next to a smoking humvee