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Kelley White
The Wristlet

Does she offer this heart to me, bound at
her wrist and crowned with love? Does she give love
to everyone she meets, when she touches
her baby’s forehead, wraps a scarf around
her older daughter’s neck? Or is she bound
to just one other? I know the claddagh
is Irish, some kind of Irish above
my own Irishness.
Is it polite to ask about tattoos?
This wrist encircled by hands that clasp each
other might mean family, friends, but I think
pain, of divided country, the red ink
heart pinned beneath a foreign crown. Seeking
freedom? Should I presume? Read this tattoo.