Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Poet With the Dragon Tattoo: Kristina McDonald on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our next tattooed poet, Kristina McDonald, sent us the image of her back piece:

Kristina elaborates:
"My body and I have a complicated relationship history. This particular tattoo was born at a time when people hadn't been treating my body (or my spirit, I suppose) with care or respect, myself included. And I needed to change that. The mythology of the dragon encompasses many different things: protectors of treasure, symbols of ancient wisdom, powerful fighters. My dragon is a magical mark on my back that reminds me that I am fierce and wise and that my body is a thing that's worth protecting."
Kristina knew her artist's name was Peña, but doesn't recall the name of the shop. She added "rumor is that he went to jail shortly after I got this tattoo and none of my friends seem to know what happened to him."

The following poem she sent us was originally published in Switchback.


In the picture, her feet are cut off and even now
I imagine her falling.

Everything happens for a reason, says the wolf
with a dove in his claw. If it were up to me,
we would leave all our children in the woods with a blindfold
so they can learn how to really hunt.

Hunger, too, has its benefits. Just look how skinny you are.
And when the men come to raid this village, keep in mind
that empty cupboards are a good place to hide.

If a broken bottle can still hold water,
it isn’t broken yet.

These days I’m light enough to balance in a pail,
lower myself to the bottom of the wishing well.

Every night is a dream. Every morning
starts with the same vision: a sure-footed woman
dancing in the fountain, dropping apples
everyone will eat. 

~ ~ ~

Kristina McDonald received her MFA from Eastern Washington University, where she served as poetry editor of Willow Springs. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in NarrativeNew Guard ReviewSugar House ReviewSwitchback, and Yemassee. She has worked for literary non-profit organizations Writers in the Schools and Get Lit! Programs, and she currently works at Rice University

Thanks to Kristine for her contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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