• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

Boning Breaths

My third tooth fell at thirty-three –
the epoch of brittling youth.

I can sit by my grave, right now, know
of what truly was buried: palm-sized

sack of whatever made up a broken world
up for sale. I whispered in his ear, the boy

correcting the order of clothes on the rack
in a corner that reminded me of burnt snow;

he seemed to understand why they smelt
the way they smelt, dead people's clothes;

I told him I lust bones of teeth that never
left their gums, and like an instinct still fresh

like a musk-musty block of incense coal,
he put his hand in my Fifth Element coat

and drew from it a creak of orphic lament.
Signs: strong cradling of adulthood. Offer them

the Persephone of my mortality –
the lips of a black mamba

surviving the juices of anxiety.
My breaths fissuring in

contemplative aging. Cold, on the collar of
his nape, I placed a tooth. I told him to set


Boning Breaths

a price that would amount to a coin of bronze:
my fare, and square the deal without

haggle. He didn't need to look into my
eyes. Knew so well. All that my premature

over-birth ever needed was an itinerary,
accurate on empathetic deviations –

how he smiles at the customer that has
just entered; gaze fixed straight on the coat,

slow-striding towards him, her mouth parting in
greeting, a tooth missing.