endoskeletal by Madeline


i lie still on the cool breast of my hardwoods
lungs beneath me welling with november crisp
and small bits of breath

the strength in my bones began to feel brittle
in october
i chewed leaves forty times each before swallowing

nighttime winds blew through my open bathroom window
through the cracks wide open between my ribs
jagged like old gravestones

my fingers crest the mound of each hipbone
hills sharp like ocean cliffs
and i placed rocks along their ridges
watched them tumble to the low valley of an empty belly

in red ink i traced the caverns my body creates
the crater where flesh used to bloom
supple and soft like impatiens’ white petals
now dead in the depths of fall

the crags of my backbone rigid and reptilian
elbows sharp like axes wrists thin like ribbon

moonlight filters through holly leaves outside the window
berries red like cheap wine
branches thin and crooked
a painting of my shell

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