Today's poem is by A. E. Stallings

A Bone to Pick with You

It's time to take the skeleton out of the closet,
Where it has lain these months in the catalogued gloom,
Stored bone by bone in boxes and brown paper parcels:

Femurs, vertebrae, fibulas, skull, meta-tarsals.
It's time to put it together with wires and hooks,
To light the sullen lantern behind its sockets,

And dress it in the black suit with the fraying pockets,
And the creaking shoes with holes worn through the soles.
It's the time of year when the skeleton malingers

On the front porch, and the neighbors point their fingers,
(But nobody, nobody whispers behind our backs.)
It's time to take the skeleton out of the closet,

Where it lies the rest of the year like a safety deposit,
Accruing the interest of dust, and a layer of gossip.
Later we'll drag it back in, and bone by bone

We'll take it apart, and clean it with acetone,
And pack it in cotton-balls, muffled with tissue paper—
We'll padlock the door, so that no one can ever tattle.

But something's afraid of the dark. Hear it rattle, rattle.

Copyright © 2003 A. E. Stallings All rights reserved
from The National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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