Friday, August 4, 2023

The Bag of Bones

Picture it. What do you see?
What does the phrase call to mind?
Maybe a corpse. Old roadkill,

Still in its deflated skin.
Maybe something personal,
The elbow joint you shattered

So thoroughly, the surgeon
Was near apologetic
After reassembling it.

There wouldn’t be much range left
Even after the therapy,
But he’d done the best he could

With what was a bag of bones.
Bag and bones, just common nouns
With common equivalents

In nearly every language.
Bag of bones, bones in a bag.
You could imagine a sack,

But whatever you picture,
The magic is what you bring
To it—not your ekphrastic

Description of that picture
But the meaning you give it.
Words. Then interpretation.

Then, somewhere in there, the ghost,
The wraith of meaning you bring
That’s rattling your bag of bones.

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