The Bone Cupboard

Old bones 

ever-covered in newly spun webs

sit within the rusting, grey shelves 

of an old postal station 

in a corner of the courtyard.

 

Below each cupboard,

traces of organized, synchronized routes 

still show,

where news of kin and other stuff

was carried to folks now dust to dust.

 

Sun-bleached bones 

of brilliant white,

smooth to the touch,

feathery light,

mark passages of the All But Forgotten

among those to fall

and follow.

 

Aged antlers of young stag,

shed in endless play

on the windy hillside of pine and scrub,

now rest within.

Pronged and proud

and pleasant to hold.

 

As is the pronghorn’s horn,

still warm, 

when I picked it from a field

of slow-greening grasslands 

where the dogs and I roam.

 

Unlike the skin on the skull

of an old coyote

found curled and alone,

having died on its own,

beside a wash not far from home.

 

Quietly undetected,

and un-ravaged, 

by its rather savage setting.

… until I came along.

 

Too big for its shelves,

the spine of an elk

sits on top

with a trove of skulls and bones

needing time to succumb

to the days and the sun.

 

To the wind and the grit,

and the unrelenting clock, 

turning sinew and muscles and hide

to naught.

 

So all that’s left

are skulls and teeth

ribs and hooves,

a monstrous skeleton

and nature’s great good.

 

Of lives being lived.

And friends being lost.

Of all of us food 

and bones to be tossed

inside the rusty, fading shelves

of the cupboard in a corner of the courtyard.