It was always ashen

clinging to its scalp,

the roots no longer dampened.

Peeled away by the brush of winds –

not torn like rough paper with unsteady hands.

Sheathes the bones –

each one captured,

never to lash air for

the skin enfolding it.

Raw, vermilion canvas,

bones poke through skin.

Starving calves

on skeletal plains.

Metallic in taste,

it wraps around my chalky tongue,

drips down my throat

‘til it settles in the vestibule of my gut

and curdles with sour juices.

Three tiered picket pierces my lily hands,

while matchstick fingers splay with veins.

I crush that mottled arc into ash;

its fragility a mirror

into which I will not look.

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