emma deimling

Ink Stains

Mended bones stitched back together all wrong, stained
These silent prayers you kiss into her skin
Etched all over her body so that
You cannot tell the difference between
A blessing, a curse, a
Damnation of tattoos in discreet places:
The other girl’s name twining around her elbow,
Ink staining her hands like the blood of a saint with a story from
A life time ago of
‘I love you’s and belated
Apologies tucked in the corners of smiles
Of kissing you and remembering someone else’s lips,
Of making love to the past that you will never be able to touch
But still you focus on
The trail of veins in her wrist beneath your fingertips like
Wandering down endless lanes of wild grins and windswept hair—
That is, until the
Fog slowly creeps in,
Bruises on pale skin, darkening, ripening as the
Constant ache of wanting something you can never have
Rots into a sick, wasted corpse
With an open-wounded heartbreak
Inked over with every memory of her like
Forgotten initials carved into dead trees—
One remaining,
One fading.


Emma Deimling (she/they) was born in a small Midwestern town, her head cluttered with dreams and a love of thunderstorms over empty cornfields. They have studied English and Creative Writing at universities from all over the world and have been published in numerous literary magazines, including Crow & Cross Keys and The Broadkill Review. You can find her on Twitter @EmmaDeimling