Skinhead with Tattoo • Arlene Ang

It's a flower. Over lipids,
roses bloom into begonias.
The word Death goes around
his curve of arm with spatulate
thorns. We are alone in the room.

Calipers. He has grown
sensitive to the clamp of hunger.
The back of his neck moves like
a newborn cub curled towards
its mother's breasts. I measure
him up, watch the waves
of goose pimples on his skin.

Is there such a thing as
losing weight? The difference
between feather and hen is
the latter gets
sacrificed to absent gods.

It is hard to explain love
to a skinhead. His motorbike
breaks down like a woman.
In the end, he prefers
the geraniums on his window sill.
Mosquitoes shun his flat.

His father was never home.
I show him how to count calories
with a small scale. Day after day,
he comes back to ask the meaning
of slow release energy. Sometimes
he comes so close to taking my hand.