The Bones

The bones of the once living. The skeleton, the frame upon which the flesh had hung, the crucible of our liquid blood. Calcium, an element of the earth born of hard curves and interlocking notches, pliant in life, brittle beyond it. The carrier of the weight of us, the weight of live tissue and waters. The anchors of muscular propulsion. Secret, hidden structures. Puppet members, the hasps and hinges, levers and cranes; our nervous scaffold of channels and locks wherein the mysterious working interplays of mind and matter, the means of motion, obedient servant of the will.

True maker, bones. The doer of the dire endeavors and keeper of the flame. We are bones. We are dust. We are white calcite. The world of dust is shaped by dust, pushed by bones, carved by bones, raised by bones. The force of bone guides the will of men. Hammers and scrape, hammers and scrape. Bones lift, bones haul, bones pull and sculpt the dead skeletons of steel and iron and drywall and wood. Bone builds bone. Skeletons erecting skeletons, synthetic skull housings, the skulls of the living that soon will be dead. Bones create crypts.

*

A wandering man finds bones among the dunes, in tall grasses. He follows a feint game trail, knowing he is bound to discover the remains of some living thing, a vertebrate victim, a link in the food chain. Here, what’s left of a small deer, bleached and glowing, picked clean by scavenger birds and carrion beetles, nestled in a shallow depression where the trails of coyotes converge.

Pelvis, spine and ribs, held by leathered sinews constricting as they dried, and shrunken, so as to bow the back as if held in the throes of its death. The host creature is unrecognizable and now some new one is formed. A suggestion of a head at the base of the spine, an eye socket, a mouth, some sea-creature fossil, a transition form between mammal and fish, lithe and eel-like with fantastic fantail propulsion. The form is fetal. It is fish-like and curved back upon itself – another suggestion, that of life.

Bone, bone, bone. The animal is the bone. I am bone. Bone clasps my pen, the tips of my fingers fall upon the keys, my eyes float within bony orbs. Bones sit before me draped in living tissue. Bones turn and pivot, reach and hold. The hollow bones of seabirds glide and turn in the air above the water. Buoyed by feathers they do not fall. All sound is made possible by bone, everything I hear. Somebody shouts “David”, and the tiny bones vibrate deep within my ear. The mouth that mouthed the word is framed by bone. A hinge made of bone allows the face to open to emit the magic spell of language. Bones. Their secrets are only mine for the telling. The Tarot of bones is for you to read and interpret. No special seer can do this.

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