He offers her three bones as a form of compensation
laying the nesting bird of her palm
warm against his sternum’s slope,
bones of sugar, bones of soap,
so close to the flutter of shame at his throat
this handful of her small hot bones
to have, or keep, or hold –
mineralized love, shot through with reeds
of velvet marrow, tinted mulberry.
Astonishment sculpts the curve
of his mandible, whets the cant of his ribs
and goes humming like a fuse down knobs
of vertebrae, sparking a trail of sulfurous tang.
This is how the bones begin to know
themselves, as kindling that ignites
the will, then falls away in a hush
to the wet black earth, again and again.