Bone Song


the lady

has vermilion bougainvillea

in one hand

jacaranda hangs

from her mouth.


she balances

a white rocker

on gray boards.


a tisket a tasket

a green and yellow basket

i sent a letter to my son

and on the way he lost it . . .


under her cool skin

the feet dipped in formaldehyde

to prevent sweating

a river runs.


days we know this:

watch the fits of scrubbing pots

the bathtub scoured to the pipe

how she places sweet soap and

tri-folded towels in rows . . .


brittle bones crumble until

she lets go

and begins to sing

and learn the names of things:


Lilies of the Nile

tall plumes sway in the salt wind.