Tattoos are permanent symbols that last forever, while relationships can’t be guaranteed permanent now a days. Kim Addonizio chooses tattoos as a symbol in this poem “First poem for you.” Water and lightning is what makes the poem most symbolistic. “Lines of lightning pulsing just above your nipple can find as if by instinct the blue swirls of water on your shoulder where a serpent twists facing a dragon.” Though symbols can have more than one meaning to them the poem helps to point of the specific meaning of these symbols.
The girlfriend of the guy with tattoos enjoys touching them when she is unable to see them. She knows the by following her heart, just where the lightning is pulsing. In that case the lighting symbolizes power that has a pulse, just like peoples hearts. Its instinct to her, just where every tattoo is on him. She knows that when she feels his shoulder the blue swirls of water are just above it. Water symbolizing that the boyfriend is pure at heart. The serpent facing the dragon symbolizes the warrior in him, and it shows he has no fear against his enemies. “When I pull you to me until we’re spent and quiet on the sheets” means that she pulls him closer to her while they’re laying down and falling asleep, she expresses her love and care for him until there’s no more time left in the night, until its all spent. To kiss the pictures on his skin simply means kissing his tattoos. “They last until you’re seared to ashes; whatever persists or turns to pain between us, they will still be there.” What ever persists or turns to pain between her and her boyfriend, the tattoos will always be there, until the day he dies by cremation and turns to ashes. What ever happens, good or bad, even if its painful the tattoos will still be there, they are permanent, they last forever. “Such permanence is terrifying” knowing that a tattoo is so permanent is scary, it will always be there, there is no erasing it. “So I touch them in the dark, but touch them trying”...
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