I dreamed she got a tattoo
my mother
[didn’t even approve of tattoos]

on her back
she lowered her robe for me
to see a map.

It looked like North and South
silhouetted in black.

She talked
strangely, spooning coffee to make
cowboy coffee,

called ‘cuz it wasn’t perked
just grounds
boiled in water, rather gritty.

Need a dock
she said, for the boat when it reached
a city.

She always wanted to live there; without
the map,
how would she know where it was?

I stood sipping this burnt coffee wondering
about her;

that sore-looking tattoo on my mother,
her escape
to some far-off city, not wanting to ask

why or when
she would leave, longing to ask her –
take me.

Selected byNolcha Fox
Image credit:Alex Boyd

Julie A. Dickson has written poetry for over 50 years, has served on two poetry boards, has served as a guest editor for several journals, coordinated 100 Thousand Poets for Change for 5 years and her work appears often in publications including Medusa's Kitchen, Blue Heron Review, Open Door, Misfit, MasticadoresUSA, Ekphrastic Review and Uppagus. She has authored YA fiction books including "Bullied into Silence" [Piscataqua Press] and Poetry books, the latest being "Village Girl" [Goldfish Press]. Dickson holds a BPS in Behavioral Science, advocates for captive elephants and shares her home with two rescued semi-feral cats.