on bones


I let the bourbon sit and burn on my tongue while he spoke. I listened in the sort of way one listens after three glasses of bourbon. He started talking about bones, the bones in my arm, the thin ones I had spoken about wanting to get tattoos on in French. He started telling me a broken heart is a broken bone, though as I argued, there are no bones in the heart. He said, it feels the same and it heals the same and if you don’t set it proper it will still heal but in a strange and crippled way. As he spoke I made hard choices of which eye to look into because at such a short distance it is impossible to look into both, and I could smell the bourbon on his breath but I didn’t wonder why we were so close. I started drumming on the bar top and singing, Love like lightning shaking till it moans, Hearts and bones, Hearts and bones… I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ about no Mexico… And he let me keep going until I was tired and then we both agreed on the genius of Paul Simon and drank to that, laughing at the things that were not there to laugh at. So we spoke more on bones and I was interested because that night I had seen Leslie Jamison read at the University and she also had long and bony arms like my own. And while she read she spoke on bones and hearing the words on her lips and the rhythm of her own writing clatter out from beneath her tongue, I felt my bones sitting quietly under my skin. And in one quick moment I felt the idea or the ghost of mortality pressing in or sitting next to me in a way I don’t remember ever being quite so aware of. Hearts and Bones..