Contributor Series 7: The Confessional Diary of Bone
What a Wife Knows of Bones
By Cassie Premo Steele
I begin with the ridge of your foot, a fan
of sparrow feathers, so light, they sprout brown flight
while you sleep. The sky is your whole calf, the air
that rubs against me in the dark, what holds the memory
of the wooden bat cracking to make you run.
I reach your thigh, secure in its blankets of flesh,
the old woman who tells you to rest,
it’s alright, after so many years, to sit down.
I caress her wavy grey hair and wander up the hip,
that shield, what you carry, what worries you
even when you dance. Turn you over, trace your spine,
the bricks of your fortress, what stands in the middle
of a traveling life. Each piece is a lattice that geraniums poke through.
And your ribs, glorious spoons scoop against me,
scrape up what is frozen like strawberry ice.
You pull back and there are wings from your neck
that spread open like a cross or the beginning of an embrace.
Your shoulders, silver goblets you dip your head into
when you hear Beethoven or the sound of your daughter’s voice.
Your arms are the two pairs of drumsticks your father left you,
what he played in the basement and embedded
within you by what you remember was the rhythm of his eyes.
Your fingers, each a toddler in a blue colored schoolroom.
One squats at the knees and all the rest begin to laugh.
You wake, touch your face, that thin cover of what remains
of all of us after we are gone. The morning sun inches further
across our bed to your pillow. Another day of our marriage moves along.
Cassie’s most recent poem to appear at vox poetica was A Hungry Wife, published as part of Contributor Series 5: Dramatis Personae in May.