Skeleton bleached bronze by the desert
rattles up my driveway looking for solace,
someone who might understand
what it’s like to drink your flesh away.
Hide behind a curtain and
peek through the gap,
grateful for the miracle of clothing and drapery
hiding the angles of marrow and addiction.
Dying baby rabbit in a kitten’s teeth
batted around our front porch.
Its hip bone juts violent,
a pile of baby and rot.
We children, kitten and I,
spit fur from our tongues
and gnaw on any ribcage
innocent of our house.
What kind of scavenger am I?
Returning home only when it punishes me,
when it’s time to turn loved ones to ash.
Even vultures know when to leave the bones.
Soon, I’ll add my ribcage to the pile of ancestors.
Our bones picked yellow.
That aged yellow,
rotting teeth yellow,
the kind of yellow you wish was clean,
the kind of white that just missed its mark.
Jessica Standifird is a writer and editor from Portland, OR. Her work has been featured in Unchaste VII, The Manifest Station, and at the 2018 Writer’s Guild Initiative Gala, where Parker Posey read Jessica’s piece. Standifird will be performing in the upcoming Ping Chong & Company production, (Un)Conditional, at Profile Theater in Portland, Oregon.