The Structure of Bones

While my child sleeps, in the velvet dim
when other loved ones might ache and sigh
from the vision
I consider the structure of bones.
A shifting frame for the soft canvas of her skin,
bones grow and converge
stretch and reach.
Cheekbone hands rise
to touch fingers at the bridge of her nose
a throne for the eye sockets, growing strong and round
to shelter the eyes
I love so dearly.

Her thin wrists, bent to lay palms
across the narrow chest
over her sternum
where living bones have knitted a living space
for wire.
You can feel it
(but don’t wake her up)
with two light fingers
the hard irregular bumps
of a breastbone opened
and closed
by a man’s hands
while she slept
in whatever that tightly-controlled place is
that men create
between sleep and death.

I breathe it through
every night
in this same dim light

while this girl’s blood
and lymph, hips and toes
dead and live cells
bursa, pancreas
cerebrum, cerebellum
thyroid and freckles
pain receptors
pain blockers
heart and broken-through bones
quietly grow.


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