Constellation of Bones

torrin a. greathouse

the forest curves around me tightly as a scalded palm, skin peeling

into clouds slumped low enough among the trees to be mistaken

for mist, or a gasp of steam from the valley floor — spread wide

as a newly vultured corpse — its edges clung with the last wet suds

of yearling snow, like curdled milkfat or maggots dreaming gut-heavy

against a deer’s caved-in breast. there is a wind chime dangling

in the mist. closer, no. not a wind chime. though its limbs percussion

into a fevered tune. the sides of its throat applauding into the absence of air

between them. the wire circles its vein-thick neck like a maypole. the goat

hanging, ornamental, limp as a storm’s decline. its eyes fat, pink, & pitted

as late-season plums. each pupil a single gouge, a thumb nail splitting

peel. even now, how pulseless the knowing: that i will leave its body

strung into the air. imagine the flesh sloughing away, bones suspended

as salt in brine, or constellation — pinholes in the blue-bleak fabric of night

— & how i long for such animal knowledge: to invent of the sky an exit,

a doorway in the wind, breath swung open on the hinge of the jaw;

to see in the body a room & know how to leave it behind.


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