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Collections of Bone

I go where the rot subsides, the flesh fallen,
the reek now of the soil's dense aromas.
Dealing only in dry bone, I wait, calling

the scavengers by name. The vulture precedes me,
the fox outflanks my quiet manoeuvres.
The earth is bouldered with corpses. Skins melt

like guttering suns, noiselessly sweating in shallow
graves, becoming weightless like a million
words unhinged by misunderstanding,

unclarified, false and failing loves.
It is here that I can sense the terrified.
The upthrust final fist, the instant

unanswerable bullet, the sword's unending
fatal arc, the momentary loss.
And sometimes, resignation, a last blue

sky lapping these eyes dull perimeters.
Here a finger shrivels inside a ring.
Here an earring sparkles lobelessly.

I, from the safety of awaiting pause in mute
systems of decay, calculate
the profits of collection, research, display.