Swallow Tattoo

by remembertoexhale

In the old days sailors used to tattoo
the image of a swallow
for every 5000 nautical mile voyage they completed
the more swallow tattoos they had
the more experience they had, and in turn
the more trusted they were
but underneath all the experience and trust trophy tattoos
they also symbolised the fact that they would always return home
no matter how many thousands of miles they sailed.
just like the swallow always returns home
When I was seventeen
I desperately wanted a tattoo of a swallow on my wrist
birds are the freest things there are
what it would be like
to soar above the storm
and have the blue skies all to myself.
I always imagined the sailors lined up shirtless
swallow upon swallow adorning
the lining of their skin
I imagine them sweaty and strong tanned
and brave
and maybe they were sailing because they were
running to be free
or just to get by
but their swallows would  always bring them home
and maybe
just maybe
I won’t need the swallow tattoo after all
because I already feel freed
and what is a blue sky
without anyone else to see it with