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Summer Departure #3

Virgil Suarez

after Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pelvis with Moon


In the reading room, under the spotlight,

where a month flutters against the bulb,

I am reading Charles Simic’s poem ‘Bones’,

the one where he says his roof is covered

with pigeon bones, and he thinks he hears

them, “the little skulls cracking against

the tin”, and in front of me is my wife’s

favorite O’Keeffe painting: Pelvis with Moon.

And I think, how can we not ponder them,

this business of bones, how wind might

sift through them, bleach them with grains

of sand, over time, left on the prairie,

a reminder to all passers-by? A cow grazed

here once, not any cow, but the one my

uncle owned, the one whose milk we drank

as children, its frothy kiss on our lips, bones

of angels, bones left to the bereft, open

wings, a tent risen in homage to solitude,

like the moth who’s stopped its beating

against the heat of the light bulb, now rests

on the lamp’s base, limp and lifeless,

and o, how the mind gives in finally

to this idea of bones, bones, hollow vessels

at the bottom of everything, waiting for light

to fill them, then they will tell their stories.


From Thumbscrew No 15 (Winter/Spring 2000)

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