Secrets of the Skeleton

Secrets of the Skeleton

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A Poetry Showcase Award submission

Secrets of the Skeleton

Notice how the sphenoid arches like a butterfly, suspended

Across the cranial vault in graceful flight; It glides

With the subtlest of movements, and the carpals and metacarpals

Curl to meet each other, little diaphragms of cooperation,

The things our hands can do.

Notice the way the pelvic girdle rests like a chalice, how the

Paired bones mirror each other—

How the sutures impress us with their coarseness

While they breathe,—Notice the hyoid bone,

Anchoring above and below, holding us all together.

The vertebrae stacked one on top of the other,

Two perfect scales, the ribs tuning forks,

The spinal membranes: dura, arachnoid, pia,

Threaded like an elaborate, tethered web enshrouding

The spinal cord, all mystery—

The femur producing blood cells, stem cells:

Living tissue strong enough to bear our weight,

The little orchestra of ossicles and tympani orienting

Our place in space, our bodies in time.

Palpate the tension of the fascia

As it winds from bregma to toe,

One continuous and ephemeral manifestation

Of becoming and grace,

These walking temples of bone and water

And ancient memory.

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