Tattoos And Love In Kim Addonizio's First Poem For You

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Tattoos and love are considerably interconnected for how different they are. Tattoos are permanent and, typically, people willfully choose to inflict themselves with the pain. Love, on the other hand, is not permanent and it’s generally not something a person can simply choose to feel or not feel. The permanence of tattoos compared to love’s uncertainty has a great effect on the overall theme of Kim Addonizio’s “First Poem for You” and the relationship between the two ideas builds throughout the sonnet.
In the first lines, Addonizio writes “I like to touch your tattoos in complete / darkness, when I can’t see them” (1-2). “Darkness” could represent how she feels about the relationship or perhaps even an impending doom to the relationship. The fact that she likes to touch them when she can’t look directly at them makes for some interesting implications. At the end of the poem, she admits that “Such permanence is terrifying” (13), which suggests that perhaps it is easier for her to confront her fear in the dark when she doesn’t have to see it so directly and can deny it.
The speaker then goes on to tell about how she knows “by heart” (3) and “as if by instinct” (5) where her lover’s tattoos are located. “Instinct” in nature is something that a person or animal has been born with. It’s in his or her genetics and a part of who he or she is. This
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Even the title itself, “First Poem for You,” has something to say that affects the poem’s theme and the speaker’s intention. “First” implies that there will be a second, that there is a future in store for the speaker and her lover. This is a highly optimistic outlook in the context of the first 13 lines of the poem where she speaks of darkness, ashes, love turning to pain, and terror but it ties in very well with the last line, which speaks of striving to overcome such obstacles despite her

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