One Decade of Bones

Years ago they met on a washboard road,
their hair and his beard flying. Her springtime lover gone,
she meant to build her wooden house alone.

She didn’t. He helped her raise her cabin’s ribs.
She helped him give his cabin skin. Her lover returned.
His wife remained. Surprised, they found one day each other’s arms.

He said he didn’t think ahead of decades.
We’re already decades apart, she said.
Each time they met in wind must be enough.

She came to the mountain to spend herself, not him,
but now she wonders where their bones will crumble.
She feels hers, strong, through stubborn muscle,

squeezing arm or calf to reach past ache.
In other places bones are merely draped
with resigned skin: wrists, ribs, collarbones and hips.

She strokes these desolate bonescapes,
echoes his hands, his hands, their wind,
imagining their bond beyond reproach.

They cannot ask their arms not to recall
the song of mourning doves,
the fall, the fall, the fall.

And that is not enough!
There must be time for more than this, my love,
more kisses for our teeth and lips, don’t go.

I see a bright disease inside your eyes
Your crow’s feet sharp, your flesh revealing bone
Is this the lonely way we leave our homes?

She knows, too well, how many times she dies each year,
wonders, despite her skin: can he already hear
the winds moan low and through me without him?

2007

2 Responses to “One Decade of Bones”

  1. Fey says:

    The last six lines, ah gasp!! The agony of bliss. Brilliancy.

  2. ned says:

    I’ve been away too long. Came tonight and made it all the way to this poem before I realized I was wholly immersed, holding my breathe, and I had to come up for air. Beautiful. All of it. Thank you.

    I ashall now take a big breathe and dive back in…

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