How Skeletons Dream in Song

I’m thinking about the fiberglass threads of my bones. How they’re spun like sugar silk, bunched up like spaghetti knots. How they compose the beams and buttresses of my cathedral. How they’re pulled beyond the point of snapping. 

And I’m thinking about how those strings are being plucked flat by too many hands. About the round notes reverberating through my ribcage, screwing up the grainy marrow and crashing against the archipelagos of my wrist bones as I claw for validation. This is a sour song, but I don’t know what else to say.

In my cathedral bell-tower, there is a chandelier made of spiderwebs. Dewdrops hang like glass beads whenever it rains inside my walls and when I swallow the stars, my brilliance echoes these abandoned hallways like a bonfire-beacon, like someone still lives here. Yet each rippling note shakes a few crystals free and my bones are too honeycombed to rain-dance the way they used to when I was full.

The black spaces between the bones, where the void seizes, where my blood runs in dark rivers as iron veins in mountain canyons, where my organs nestle in great lakes and my muscles stretch oceans wide: that’s where the meat of the issue is. The bones don’t lie; the body does. What is the body but a meat machine grinding gears in exchange for chemical explosions? Our personalities are caged reactions funneled through electric strings. How can we trust the desires of our wiring when it’s all in our head?

But the bones are good. The bones don’t lie. They are marble stones, weather-washed and stripped bare of all the coverings we swaddle around our frames, like ghost-sheets draped over abandoned living-room couches. What comprises a jawbone but the impression of sound and the plaster memories of songs we have forgotten how to sing? On our temple walls, we write the things we hoped for once, and shrank back from twice. Our flesh cannot handle the white-heat of our aspirations. Even our bones fold into ash when we reach for the sun. 

We are fragile creatures, our brittle bones do agree, but our souls live long in the melodies we share. Voice to ear shell, brain to heart, blood to bone, then bone to bloom. Plant a femur in the soil and watch its roots tear a crater because the deathbed of one hope is the birthplace of another. Dreams will die and that’s okay. Our neighborhoods are paved with sidewalk fantasies, dying and thriving, and our lives are bleached coral reefs. Give up when it counts. We must choose where to dig our graves: who we love, how we labor, and where we go when we fall asleep. Every dream, a grave, but some are less lonely.

Oh, the songs we play when our bones are plucked by the right hands.

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