Feature: Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Bones Knock in the House
Mary McMyne

—after Proverbs 1:8-9

 

We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.
Only soup-stones and thistle in the cupboard.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.

The wood is a wild place at winter’s end:
cobwebs singing with dewdrops, flights of ravens in trees.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.

Our voices drift over snow, over bird-eaten bread-crumbs.
They still drift—if you listen closely—in the breeze.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.

A mother’s love is boundless, an endless chain
to adorn your neck. A garland to grace your head.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.

O snow-sugared house, O frozen window,
O witch who was not my mother, who would never
knock us down in the house, suck our bones clean of meat,

it was you who caged my brother, you
who looked at him and saw something to eat.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.


Mary McMyne is a poet, writer, and fairy tale aficionado living in northern Michigan. Her debut poetry collection, Wolf Skin (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), won the Elgin Chapbook Award. Her fiction has won the Faulkner Prize for a Novel-in-Progress, a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and other honors. Her writing has appeared widely in venues like Southern Humanities Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Word Riot, Ninth Letter, Pedestal Magazine, and Chattahoochee Review. An Associate Professor of English at Lake Superior State University, she co-edits the journal Border Crossing. She edits poetry for Faerie Magazine. Visit her online at marymcmyne.com.