The skeleton stands by an open hole, freshly dug
leans on its spade and mourns the loss of its skin.
Just days before, a riot of fibrous nerves and thick lobes
of muscle wrapped it tight in a blooded embrace
gave it a personality, distinguished it from the rest
of the white bones languishing underground, but now
wind whistles through the long white bones as the result of
a small steel scalpel in an expert hand, cutting away at the thin white threads of sinew
as expertly as a butcher slicing an exact weight of meat. The individual
knots of phalanges are barely held together by bits of dried skin, even the slightest move
could jostle loose the barely-attached tibia, the femur resting in its socket
the oddly-shaped bits that make up the elbows and knees
unevenly stacked in their nest of bone. Only the spine
is safe from destruction, a thin metal pipe wedged into the sacrum and
threaded straight up through the vertebra, bending the spine just enough
to balloon the chest outwards like that of an emphysemac, struggling
for one last wheezing breath.
Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She teaches writing classes at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies and Music Composition for Dummies; the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications); and a novel, The Book Of (Damnation Books).