Skin To The Bone
There used to be a time where once every few months I would go in for a routine checkup with my doctor.
And as always, as I waited in the examining room. I would walk over to a six-foor skeleton standing in the corner with the vacant eyes, the warped macabre smile grinning back at me as if he knew something I didn't.
He always had me in a shudder for I often felt at any moment, his bony arm would rise up and then point s bony finger between my eyes and speak, saying, "One day, this is what you will look like to another human's eyes."
On one such visit when the doctor came in, I asked him where he got the skeleton from.
With a straight face and a bit of a vacant look in his eyes he said, "I dug Pete out of my backyard."
(Of course he was kidding. I think. Anyway, I go to another doctor now. He has no skeleton in his examining room.)
North to Des Moines
I literally stumbled upon her in a field of bluebells on a lovely spring day with the air so fresh and so clean that it washed through the lungs like cool water, while the warmth of a close-up sun massaged hardened, winterized skin in nearly the same way, creating in me a “hap-hap-happy to be alive” feeling. At the same time though, there came a quick wave of guilt that she did not think so, that she could not think so, but the feeling quickly washed as I placated myself with the idea that she was truly the lucky one, to be past all the trying, and suffering... but then, she was missing this too, wasn’t she? These care-free, wetted-whistle days?
There was a cleft in her skull where a rock had bashed it. My eyes gave the area a quick look-see. My guess was that, within the perimeter of how far a man could throw, that very rock was still laying right where it landed somewhere amongst the bluebells, only by now wind, weather and time had surely washed it clean of skin, blood, and other DNA carrying evidence. There was small chance the killer would ever get caught at this point, without he drunkenly brags to the wrong person from some Tucson, or Des Moines barstool one thoughtless night. They all did that at some point though, didn’t they? It probably wasn’t even thoughtlessness. Deep down, didn’t they all long for the world to know?
Her name was Melissa. I remembered it from the news shows a few years ago. “Little Melissa” they’d called her, leaving us with the image of her sweet, pretty face forever smiling in our minds’ eyes, and forever young. Who new it would become such a story? Her parents must have been really important, and must have had lots of money to keep it alive for so long. I couldn’t remember her last name now, though I pushed hard for it, but I recalled the countless searches for her; had taken part in some of them in fact, linking hands and walking the countryside like one of the good people. But somehow those searches had never found their way to this lonely place.
A bluebell was growing through the cleft, and had wound it’s way up through an eye socket, the tiny flowers harkening back to happy days, when blue eyes shimmered with love, and zest. More bluebells were sprouting up through the ribs, and where the heart had once beat a butterfly’s wings throbbed in a slow mimicry of its memory. I leaned forward, believing I could hear the tiny wings flutter... bu-bump, bu-bump, bu-bump. But that was just crazy, wasn’t it? I swatted it away. Pearly green it fluttered up, dizzily circling my head. I swatted again, and again, like at a pesky Yellowjacket, but to no avail. When I took a couple of steps back the thing lit once more atop the same bluebell in the same spot between the ribs’ cage where it fanned it’s wings again in the slow, steady tempo of a funeral dirge.
My legs suddenly tiring from the hike, and the hill, I sat down in the grass to rest. Away off to the northeast tall, gray pillars began threatening the blue skies, and a cool breeze stirred the bluebells into a frenzy all around. A fawn crested the rise, bluebells dangling from its mouth and beard, it’s soft, innocent eyes staring me through with curiosity, but without alarm. A grackle landed from nowhere upon the breastplate. In a flash it plucked the butterfly from its bluebell perch and was as suddenly away, it’s sinister eyes staring a hole though me the while. One of the three; the grackle’s eyes, the fawn’s softness, or the coming winds brought forth a cold, nervous shiver.
The right hand was curled into a fist, as though it had tried a fight at the very end. From the fist, where the index finger curled, emerged the head of a caterpillar. Like a happy pet safe in the warm hand the caterpillar stopped there, looking around, curious as to the grackle’s whereabouts, no doubt, and possibly the butterfly’s. The storm came with a fury then, soaking me in cold, wet despair. I laid myself down in the soft mud beside the sun bleached bones to cough, shiver, and atone beneath the threatening sky while large, driving droplets pelted and cowered the pretty bluebells down into submission all around me. It was not a good spot to lay exposed for eternity... not a good spot at all.
When I got up, if I got up, perhaps I should head south to Tucson, or maybe north to Des Moines.
Rotting in solitude,
I was gradually tearing down
Piece by piece,
Flesh by flesh
Neglected and rejected,
to nothing I shall be subjected
I'm just a mist of a woman,
of the one who was free
I'm all that is left,
bare bones for all to see
Yet no one can see me,
No one might even try
Some have skeletons in their closet,
I'm the one in mine
hush little baby, don't say a word
your flesh will be eaten by a hungry bird.
and if that hungry bird won't eat
i will clean your bones with bleach.
and if those bones still aren't clean
i'll scrub at them until they're thin and lean
and if they still smell foul and rank
i'll dip them in mom's perfume
and if she won't let me take her scent,
i'll hang you up even before your smell is spent.
and if you fall down from my tree,
i'll find another baby next halloween.
Skeletons on Clotheslines
Tango of shame
I am to blame
life slot starving
no such luck
dip into soft jar
weary hand from afar
widen the road
stomp into ground
solution not found
slice the wind
lined in rows
no elbow room
let words fly
unhinge the strings
free thought rings.
my papa is a skeleton
when I was little, I didn't want my papa to hold my baby sister. I thought he was a skeleton. he was 6'2 and skinny as an orphan. I was surprised when his frail, lanky arms could hold her ten-pound body. "I was in the Navy, you know. A deep-sea diver." he told me stories about Vietnamese children and the fog in Bermuda. I couldn't believe him. "But how, Papa? How can a skeleton do that?" he never answered my question. I watched that skeleton for fourteen years, angry and loud and brave. the skeleton that I loved read every book, and drew pictures of castles that I will engrave into my skin. but the skeleton truly became skin and bones. I've never seen a man so lost in his own backyard. staring at the sky, staring at his wife, staring at me. he didn't recognize any of it. I have dreams of him now, in stained jeans and a big, rage-ridden head on delicate bones. I miss the skeleton who would tell me stories about the big pine tree in his backyard. I miss the skeleton who gave me hugs like he'd never see me again. maybe he knew that one day, sooner rather than later, he would never see me again. he would look with the same eyes that taught me how to pray and not see a granddaughter, but rather see a brown-haired girl. "You remind me of my granddaughter, Sophie." that was the day I decided a skeleton could never be more than dead, and the conviction that allowed his arms to hold my sister was gone. he will never see more than shapes in a book now, and his pictures are only color. but my papa is the supernatural being that taught me skeletons could love, and that is the skeleton I choose to remember. the living one, not the absent one.
the time between
where buried bones
sing varied tones
ghosts of scandals
cry of vandals
stories of glory
of war so gory
in the closet
bound in a corset
a skeleton dances
to remain hidden
an odorous mess
not one will confess
until the stench
of acid quench
the flesh of lies
as October flies
And November tells
truth doth polish
from unfound haciendas
The Car, The Man, and The Boy
The tomb was clean and fresh, new and young. The body inside was of a child, Thomas Ricker. Thomas Ricker was doing his chores when a car ran into the fields and crashed into him.
When the tomb opened a scent of flowers and dirt hit the air. The boy was now not a boy, but bones. He was buried two days ago and the crash 3 days ago. It was very bizarre that he was now only bones.
Light came from the bones and a voice, his voice, echoed in the night.
"I SHALL RETURN! TO DESTROY THAT CAR AND THAT MAN ALONG WITH HIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The voice was very startling. Under the bones something was under him. A thin, long box. The box was a deep shade of walnut and the inside was a red, velvety type thing. A long stick with intricate designs. Under that was an old necklace that once belonged to his mother, Julia. She was known for her kindness and excellent baking. Now she isolated herself from the world and from others.
The boy lifted from the tomb into a ghostly figure. He had all the marks, scars, and bruises the car had left him. The boy glided on top of the tomb and waved his hand over it, making it close. He flew away in sadness to go find his mother.
As he reached the fields he saw the same car, same man. But something was off. His mother now trapped under the car and had bruise after bruise, scratch after scratch all over her body. The boy howled in anger and sadness as the man ran into his car in fear and drove away very quicklu
I felt, strange. It was cold, I could feel it in my bones, but not on my skin. I looked at myself and found that I had no skin at all. But not just no skin, no organs, no blood, no muscles, no brain. Yet here I was. How? One moment I was with someone, my best friend. Who was it? B-Bethany was her name. What were we doing? Why can't I remember? My memories were slipping away.
I felt around and had very little sensation in my hands. I was trapped, that much I could tell. Was I dead? Was I buried alive? Why were my bones still here? Why could I think? Well if I was going to think, might as well think my way out of here. Bones were strong that must I knew. I started to scratch at the casket that I was stuck in. At least I assumed it was a casket. I seemed to make some progress. I remember being buried in the sand once on a beach, but I couldn't tell who buried me. Was it the same people who had trapped me here? I kept going until I had made a hole big enough, then I went higher. There was a mountain of dirt there, but I pushed through that too. I dug and dug and dug until I felt even colder air. It's Halloween night. I thought It's time for some haunting. Why did I think that? I have never wanted to haunt anyone. But still... that voice inside me was telling me that I did.
"Go away," I told the voice. But when I spoke I was surprised. My once beautiful voice now sounded like nails on a chalkboard. How did I know I had a beautiful voice? Forget your old life, and embrace the new. STOP TALKING! I thought, although there was no one around. Please just let me explore. Yes, yes, go into the world and see all that you can see. Thank you, now leave me alone. As we spoke, I had dug, and now I was out. The sun was just setting over the trees. I put a hand to my head and realized it was out of place. I turned it with my hands to correct it. From behind me, I heard a scream. I turned to the source of the commotion. A young girl, perhaps a little younger than me was standing there with a pumpkin bucket. She had on a dark cape and fangs. I wasn't entirely sure she was human.
"Why do you scream?" I asked. The girl just screamed again and ran. "Wait!" I called. "Come back. What are you? Where am I? Who am I?" But the girl was long gone. I looked down and noticed, for the first time, a gravestone. I examined it. The grey stone had words carved in it; RIP Sarah Hallow 1957-1983 Died of a seizure. She was a good friend and loving daughter and was loved by many.
Sarah Hallow. That was who I was, but now I was not. I was a skeleton, made for one purpose.
It's Halloween night, it's time for some haunting.
I remember a boy named John.
He was gaunt,
a rake almost.
His glasses enormous,
an extension of his face.
And when he got angry,
he got REALLY angry.
Like foaming at the mouth angry.
One morning the teacher left the room.
Another boy stole something of his.
He got up to defend himself,
and I stuck my foot out to trip him.
When he got back up,
we waited for the anger.
But it eluded him.
He sat back down.
After all these years
I see John.
I did that. I was the source of
And the embarrassment lingers.
But only for one of us.