Old Bones by Chris Suda

These relics weren’t always disguised by sleet.
That letter resting between the envelope’s wheat-

thinned lips will sit unfinished, indelible
and shapeless as most evenings are. This man, unavailable,

lean, would never have read past the stub,
why the trouble, why the bother she’d say. Now her ink that flubbed

the lines is splitting, and the water we sip has lost its luster. The tissues
are still there, mapped out as at most funerals—fashioned to carry

the worry, caress anchored blame. She holds her image as his
blank reflection: the organless frame of a carcass, rawboned,

whimpering. Most ends begin the same in church: the cross
a fable, the garden in her mind consumed.

The exhibition of perpetual time, she said in greasy
rhythms, a spoken reminder never that necessary. A sleazy

nostalgia crept along the shallows of her spine. The drapes
along the window unloaded the room’s light: a pro-bono

agreement she tailored for herself. She eyed the letter on the floor,
placed it atop her unshelled lamp, bulb fingering the ink

until a lobster-flushed hue trilled down each corner; mending
a red sky against her stale bones and the year’s cracked lips.


Chris Suda is an undergraduate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.