By Mollie Kervick
At first I thought she was mistaken,
when I overheard the lady
on the train. She reached
to adjust her tortoiseshell glasses,
crowning her grayed head,
telling the man next to her: You know,
babies have more bones than adults.
Even though I heard science in her voice
and could see it in the wet corners
of her eyes, I would not
let myself believe her.
According to my knowledge
of osteology, a baby is just a little stone.
One round bone draped in new,
dewy skin cradling the tiny core.
Then growing pains, I call them, when
legs and arms extend. Bones branching,
multiplying as space
and time allow.
The old man sits, a flat cap
on his head, in the waiting room,
or at the park. His knees bend
over the edge of a bench.
Look at his hands, those bony stars
spread, resting on top of his thighs.
Look closely through the papery
wrinkles and blue veins; can you see
his used, white knuckles?
Look at him, now try
to believe he is filled
with fewer pieces than
the brand new infant.
Each day is a bone
we fit under our skin,
into the hidden scaffolding.
We build careful skeletons,
make bodies out of bones,
to carry us.