Jane Adair: Memento Mori

Jane Adair: Memento Mori

A poem about bones; ravenous deer and rabbits; and Mr. Magoo. In short, a poem about near-death.

Vox Populi

Some things are best unseen.
The crippled buck in the avenue.
Turn away. Turn away
from X-rays. From the vial of your own drawn blood,
from aphids that filigree the leaves.

A doctor can say osteopenic and suddenly
the body is a house, a Victorian in need of repair.
Strangers find it charming, but you are intimate with its faulty
wires, sloping floors, cracks in the plaster.

He’d like to show you the X-rays:
Here is the ulna, a porch chime tinkling in the evening air,
there is the femur, a rickety spindle alongside stairs,
here are the hips, teacups of porcelain.

The mule deer are immigrants from some old
country who walk our sidewalks at dusk.
They can’t read the signs, they don’t trust
our currency. In groups, they’re bold.
They amble into yards – salad bars
of columbine and lilies – to peel aspen bark

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