Someone is tonguing the honeycomb of my spine,
while I walk,
while I sleep.
With no familiar name like Age or Death,
he has burgled access,
and with his acid kiss,
takes it on his lips like sherbet,
fizzing to nothing.
I didn't know to be aware.
I thought bone hard; permanent.
After everything else is gone into the earthy dark,
ivory white it remains;
the body's core, blueprint, map,
around which life weaves its fleshy laugh,
its bruises and singing touch.
Even Bog people left bones behind,
tucked warm into the soft turf,
white flags of bog cotton fluttering
among the wild yellow irises.
Pharaohs left them, and dinosaurs,
and all the no-names of the earth,
leave their skeletons as proof of their life.
But I am crumbling from the inside out
twenty years too soon
on this hot marmalade day.
More urgent than aging skin
or wrinkles on the surface of living,
I fear the fracturing fall;
my children's tumbling love;
the long metal jam of traffic, bumping.
Will a lover crush me to powdery lust?
Spineless: what does that say of courage?
Sweet toothed bone-vampire:
your hot solvent breath
sets my teeth chattering.