What are these bones that crack and ache under my flesh?
I know their names: scapula, fibula, metacarpals.
I’ve heard them spoken of as roots, as branches.
What should these words mean to me?

Now I believe that I’m not my bones. They are hollow, brittle,
ready to snap off like sticks or dried stalks of grass.
I stand, I walk, I sing. My bones hold me and I rock inside them,
as if in a cradle made from thin willow rods,
bent around and protecting the frail child who will grow beyond them,
the tiny, beating heart within the ribs.

(kz 1988, first appeared in Tar River Poetry)

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