bone journey by Rupam  Baoni

By Wasafiri Editor on February 16, 2021 in Poetry

there’s an art to arranging  

bones, laying them together   

by way of size, shape, density, 

to form a human body; 

you need to be careful where the  

sternum crosses the chest or 

the rib cage cloisters sit, bearing 

the weight of what pulses  

within; you need to trail blood streams 

before deciding if they bear the smell of 

love or human failure; you  

need to walk slowly at first, navigating 

the tendons or ligaments that  

bind the flesh of insurmountable hunger 

and of longing, weigh them all against 

the number of breaths exhaled  

and inhaled in one day; walk gently  

upon the brittleness of the skeleton 

that props up an entire bulk, 

makes it look more human than it really is; 

iit’s the head you’re after then tread 

carefully, count all your steps within, 

sometimes aloud,  

sometimes sotto voce,  

in keeping with the rhythms  

of your measure, for should you miss 

a footing you’ll plunge backwards  

into an abyss of darkness; it’s a matter of  

circumnavigating really – one…two…three… 

four…five… and so on,  

slow, ever so slow,  

as if your whole life depended on it 

Rupam Baoni is a critically acclaimed writer and artist. She has been shortlisted/longlisted in the Bridport Prize, National Poetry Competition, Commonwealth Short Story Prize and others. She is an Academic Fellow at the Hypatia Trust Penzance. Her poems have recently appeared in an anthology Invisible Borders. Her second collection is to be released in 2021.