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This is how our dying comes

by Christina Gleason

The couple in front of me
must be three lifetimes older than I -
or more - their heads nod gently
with the passing breeze on necks
once called lean and delicate,
and now are called merely weak.

They fold their sharp shoulders
into each other against a September wind
and grow somehow smaller in breadth
and bulk, even together they are tiny,
grown gaunt and sexless,
no single prominent thing
between them where there must have been
two fleshed out beings, whole and young
round collarbones sloping
to dark roads of the torso,
stocky limbs and healthy curves
and always warm, and always soft
and sometimes hidden places.

Now they are all skeletal
and wearing thin,
this is the erosion of time.

I want to always have my breasts,
my belly, the meat between
my forefinger and thumb,
but it will die, and in its dying
it will go, like flesh sloughed off
with a pumice stone
and I will be this once woman,
now something less than one,
hair short and shorn around my ears
and neck until it is as light
as batting from quilts heavier than I.

I will live until my last skin has been shed,
and even then I will make love to other bones
until the hollow clink of our bucking
beats its song into a younger age,
rattling slow and infinite.

This is how our dying comes:

We come to find our lovers' bones
and lie with them in mortar beds,
grinding against sleep, making a fine dust.


Author's Note: A supreme departure for me, pre-revision.

Posted on 10/05/2004
Copyright © 2024 Christina Gleason

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