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Feed Store Clerk’s Tattoo 

He loads my order with a dancer’s pliant ease, 
half twirl with each of six 50 pound bags,
and I see a tattoo under the lift of his shirt, 
a double helix twined in rainbow colors
that can’t play well here in a small town’s
solidified judgment. He sees me seeing,
says at summer’s end he’s got a gig,
going west with a troupe backing up
a singer whose name I should know. 
The mother in me can’t help but hug him,
my pale arm soft against 
the muscle he’s using to get out. 

                                                                    —Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of poetry collections Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019) and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013), as well as a handbook of alternative education titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010). Her background includes teaching nonviolence workshops, writing collaborative poetry with nursing home residents, and facilitating support groups for abuse survivors. She works as a book editor and teaches community writing classes. Connnect with her at lauragraceweldon.com