In the will I left
I named you as the beneficiary of
my spiral-bound spine,
heir to the words
that stacked my structure
please excuse the scoliosis.
Written into my phalanges
are all the times I held on
and at the end of my humerus
you can find the run-un laughs with their relative clauses that chased themselves around my pelvis and made me lose my
Mandible – etched with conversations I planned to have,
Zygomatic – pinched when the words would not stop flowing
Femur – strongest bone in my body, still stretching with curiosity.
At times I didn’t know
my own bones were broken
until they started to set wrong
so I broke again and waited…
Sticks and stones will break my bones but words…
No, don’t accept that bullshit
growing pains came with abandon
ache after ache
how heavy it was to be grounded –
I did not always have
I’ve seen phrases like suicide bombers,
no trace of them left after massacring others,
slurs – repurposed shrapnel.
What was left, they entitled
There were heaps of notebooks piled high like dead bodies,
try to picture:
words shattered, stress fractures,
punctured holes in lungs, speech killed by friendly fire.
they shot a little girl in the head
because she dared
to write her own back bone.
My neighbor came home with a cane –
he has a stump where he used to scrawl his strength.
torn out pages
are the worst phantom limbs.
What are wars for but
hollowing your chest cavity,
burn victims are opportunities
to graft on their words
in a color more appealing.
Beware the virus known as silence,
cancer eating away at anthems carefully crafted,
politicians spewing brittle paragraphs
to long lines at clinics
sold as cancer treatments.
Sticks and stones will break my bones and words…
words will build me.
Here, have some poetry,
cauterize your wounds.
This clavicle is a script of bearing and hope.
These metatarsals measured meter in haikus –
I was proud to stand for something.
Please, leaf through my ribs, thumb over my vertebrae.
Careful when you dog-ear my scapula; it tickles.
This is your estate.
Recognize the rigor of my cranium,
the strength of marrow stanzas,
Read cerebrospinal fluid sonnets,
celebrate cracked patellas.
Honor your inheritance –
write your own calcium and neurons.
When the beeps beat out the last of my syllables,
When you bury me, you are planting new calligraphy.
I am just leaving my marks in the dirt.