These lines on Elizabeth Bishop by poet May Swenson refer no doubt to Bishop’s alcoholism. The poem was never published in Swenson’s lifetime. It appears in the Utah State University Press 2000 publication of Dear Elizabeth: Five Poems & Three Letters to Elisabeth Bishop
Elizabeth’s liver is tattooed
with the intaglio of an indigo turtle.
The figure is startling and memorable but potentially too flashy and Swenson is at pains to down play the fireworks. She continues
that would augur prominence
and a definite who’s who-ness
No-nobodyness is the ultimate
secretly, invisibly but indelibly
The editors have supplied a title that reads like something out of Stein: “Somebody Who’s Somebody”. And to be sure not everybody is a somebody with some body part described by tattoo, intaglio, and indigo turtles.
And so for day 312