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  • Laboratory of Human Osteology (a sestina)

    The lab promises me a drawer
    a practical idea from days of old
    like the white Hallstatt piles of bone.
    I wish I could have guessed
    that Albuquerque had a place
    to set myself to rest.

    Today I don't desire a rest --
    stuff still waits in my to-do drawer,
    overflowing that tiny place
    where nothing grows too old.
    I want to think that I have guessed
    the basics of the bones.

    My skeleton is made of bone,
    holding me still at rest,
    while truth is known or only guessed
    and stuffed into a drawer
    until the time that I feel old
    and wonder where's my place.

    In case you haven't found your place,
    I'll offer you this bone:
    Decide your fate before you're old,
    give others chance to rest.
    Tell them your will is in the drawer
    and they should be your guest.

    Pay attention! You could have guessed
    a secret has its place.
    That place could never be a drawer,
    but in our very bones.
    Believe this and forget the rest;
    you'll know when you are old.

    Turn around and see yourself old,
    a poor, unwanted guest
    who earned the right to choose a rest
    but doesn't know the place
    where flesh has gone and left the bones
    silent inside their drawer.

    Old bones don't really give a damn
    about their place of rest --
    grave, drawer or furnace, as you've guessed.


    Photo by Sue Clark from Flickr Creative Commons
    Music by The Tudor Consort, "Pizzetti - Requiem aeternum"
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