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.)