Old Bones by Lou Gallo

catacombs
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Old Bones
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When I swivel my neck now I hear
cartilage popping and although it feels good
I think instantly of old Hasdrubal of Carthage
leading elephants across mountains
and I think of the bones in our back yard
on Columbus Street that my dog Spottie
buried, dug up, buried again, sucking
out that sweet marrow, and I think too
of the catacombs in Mexico City
that terrified me as a child—and
still terrify me—and of course who could
not think of Ozymandias . . .
oh I think lots of things because
how intimate is ossification and better
gather the memories while you can
before the neck becomes less a conduit
and more a fossil, not grainy like Lot’s wife
but solid, I like to think, marble,
a work of art some sculptor might carve
into a skylark or turtle or tiny peacock
that winds up on the family mantle.
At the moment I stare at the meat
placed before me in the Ancient Steak House
and can’t help poking at the bone
with my fork fancying it might emit
a signal of sorts explaining the difference
between its situation now and before when it
lived inside a cow . . . and I think of angels
and ghosts and sprites and how one
might thrive without the bones
always left behind, eroding into dust
eventually, the skull and teeth and
fingernails and ribs and elbows,
the structure collapsed,  the thinking
over, the old bones, old bones.
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Louis Gallo
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
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