Boiling the Bones; Filament
Boiling the Bones
She adds nothing of worth to the pot:
bits of bones, cheese ends, root tops and beef shin
turned sharp white, splitting and spilling
the heart right out of them.
No pork cheek unclaimed. No marrow or globs
of fat left to render.
The bitter rinds curdle and give way,
a taste that took years for her to learn, and given enough
hours, even the savory clippings
of rutabagas and endive yield
to the broth’s sweet finish. Now she knows, time claims
what can be taken.
Her practiced hand skims the trim,
washing what’s not fit to keep down the sink, and the broth
is broken, running wild.
She considers the bones.
In the early hours of kitchen light they glow pearlescent in the pot.
Days before the meat had clung
to the bones with a will for staying.
But even the love the meat has for the bone can be worn away.
Who’s to say it isn’t the rigid fingers
of water that coax each tendon to pull itself apart.
She imagines instead that the bone
chooses to be free,
to split itself apart,
to give up the thing that clings like a child to its side,
that beats like a heart in its marrow,
as if it were built for mourning.
I should have suspected
when the light bulbs went missing
it wasn’t the glass
It wasn’t until I stood
in the dimmed bathroom
that I realized you’d been living
in darkness for months.
How I could have missed
the filaments, naked in their sockets
or the dark passage carved beneath your eyes,
I’ll never know.
A mother should see these things.
A daughter, hunched in the tar black,
there in a waste basket,
a shatter of glass.