By Frankie Wilkin


It's past midnight on a Wednesday and

I trace the bones in my hands on

nights like this

when I can't sleep.

The joints dip down into crevasses and

each side of my finger is

a jagged cliff edge,

my hands tremble with earthquakes of anxiety and

I will pool words into my palms to calm.


(I wish I was ambidextrous.)


I tell ghost stories to new friends,

pulling the bones piece by piece out

of my closet,

covered in dust and smelling of

smoke and addiction;

They pick them apart and

ask me questions I would rather not answer,

I pull the skin back from my fingertips and

show them the skeleton underneath.


(the difference between dead and living is only the blood vessels.)


I still pull names out of my hat as a party trick,

vague fortune cookie descriptions of

stories I have never told;

they are too gone and

I am too sober -

they don't talk back.

Somehow the rain's damp cold finds its way

through my skin and tissues

more easily than winter's ice does.


(my mouth is zipped close like a dead man.)


2016 was the summer of cigarette butts,

ashy endings and

dug-up graves, the summer of

dog eared pages and

bent book bindings;

I find his hair in my underwear,

I stitch up my skin to hide the ossein, but

the sight of broken bones lingers

behind my eyelids.

I trace the bones in my hands when I can't sleep;

I pull the skeletons out of my closet and dissemble.


(winter is here.)