"The first is a yellow-crowned night heron on my right shoulder.
As a former coxswain in college in Tennessee, the rivers in the Southeast feel like home, and I thought I knew our wading birds well. Then I heard of the yellow-crowned night heron, and that it had been spotted near my house in Atlanta, at the lake created by mining mud for bricks. The area was super sketch, but I continued visiting it for a year before I found the bird at dusk one night, having walking into the woods with two men who were drunk and stumbling, slightly ominous but so of the earth. The bird was waiting for me at the end of the trail. The men went further into the woods, and I, out. I had earned the bird on my body.
My second tattoo is of a scarlet runner bean vine on my left calf.
I garden, and always plant this green bean variety when I can get the seeds. I don’t even like green beans, but the vine is so delicate and lovely, I plant it anyway and leave the beans on a neighbor’s porch in a grown-up version of ding-dong-ditch. The picture ... of this tattoo is of me standing in front of the vine itself, growing in the garden of a friend in Minowa in the Central Japanese Alps. It seems she, too, couldn’t resist the beauty of it. The tattoos together can only be seen from behind me, and there they move from the bottom left to the upper right—up and to the right—a movement suggesting positive motion. It was an imperative in my old job in marketing at AT&T that we always keep our business metrics moving up and to the right, and I think that’s a good way to try to live too."Danielle also shared the following unpublished poem:
The moon is disappearing into the fields
The moon is disappearing into the fields as
war approaches the horizon. Morning crawls
from a crack and seeks a cave to hide. The crows
refuse to cede the morning to the doves.
Our shadows cling to us for warmth. How do we unfold
the shrouds that holds our souls? How
do we lift them from sleep like angels in the Last Judgement?
How do we not let the path walk off itself and be lost?
There are holes all over the earth that lead the way
to the underworld. There are fewer mountains for the gods to live.
It seems we already know we will sink into the ground
like our whispers. Despite sky burials and cliff coffins,
we mostly still place our dead in the earth,
~ ~ ~
Danielle Hanson is the author of Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press Poetry Prize, 2018) and Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017). Her work won the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub, was Finalist for 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award and was nominated for several Pushcarts and Best of the Nets. She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books, and is on the staff of the Atlanta Review. More about her at daniellejhanson.com.
Thanks to Danielle for sharing her cool tattoos and poetry with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!
This entry is ©2019 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.