• Rebecca Kenny


credit: Sabrina May

Each black line stained into my skin

Is its own novella; a history.

I am covered in stories - some epic,

Some not; if you draw a finger down my

Thigh you will trace through entire

Universes, each swirl of ink containing

Time, experience; you take photographs.

I wear them.

The small of my back,the first act,

A brief story of rebellion in floral form -

Traced upwards, my neck bears my

Twenties, drunken nights, sex;

My ankle the time I thought I might

Might leave, but didn't, disguised as

A passion for text.

The memory is foggy, but there nonetheless;

My hip bone a sudden decision made

On a whim, ill-considered. Regret?

Never. Instead, a reminder

That all that exists is painted on my skin -

A story on the outside, told from within.

"I wrote the poem in response to a recent Twitter storm in which a teacher was trashed for having tattoos. I'm a teacher and I've got a few tattoos of my own, and I also have worked alongside some excellent teachers whose body art makes no difference to their level of skill and ability to educate young people well."

"To me, tattoos are souvenirs - mementoes of past experiences that we carry with us forever. Instead of putting them in a box and hiding them away, we wear them on our skin. Judging anybody for this choice is just another effort to police the human body and to judge someone on the art they wear rather than their character is questionable at the very least."


Words: Rebecca Kenny (@rebeccakennywrites)

Photography: Sabrina May on Unsplash