How to Be the Sole Woman Working in a Tattoo Shop
Be stubborn under the needles. Soldier through pain
that you have seen fold men. Learn to answer to “dude.”
Become fluent in electronics as a second language.
Ignore the fact that among this forest of brightly scaled
men bristling with metal, you alone have no pictures
of adorable offspring at the ready when regulars inquire.
When you have to work a 10-hour shift, ache-bent and
bleary, uterus an angry unraveling, say absolutely nothing
is wrong if they ask. Don’t be offended when no one asks.
Pretend that your boss has not passed gloved hands over
great spreads of your naked skin when you were only
a client. Pretend that when his fingers barely brush
your clothed elbow, sparks do not clatter up your arm.
Do not let on that once, mid-conversation, he smiled so
thoroughly at you that your ears simply abandoned
their posts, decided your eyes had more important
work to do. Don’t ever let slip that you have tasted
that smile in your sleep. Dude, especially not that.