“Bone on Bone and Blue” was a finalist in The Waking’s Flash Prose Prize
After limping decorously about, trying not to limp in front of my students, people asking “What happened?”—I learn that my right hip is “bone on bone.” How fitting, how apt, I think, as it seems our entire life is bone on bone as the agitations and stressors accrue; what else can one expect? The bone of my 90-year-old mother’s failed body, the bone of her failings, digs deep into me and throbs with the genetic logic of destruction. I want to scream and rant: I am not my mother’s daughter. I am a poet. I ride a bicycle. I lasso ideas in the dusty ring and lay them out before students who will feel their own bone on bone sooner or later. Pain seems to be the point. When we burn, bear, believe… we are bedeviled with the state of the state which includes the corpus. Cry me down. Slice the wound. Tomorrow brings unparalleled exhaustion and perseverance: appointments and forms hunt us like hyenas. Numbers crunch and grind away at our humanity. Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind Thy windy will to bear and Emily D. breathes her plea of survival. I am here in this space. I do not give up. I feed the bluebirds who have now learned to grasp the suet cages in the throng of snow and wind after much trial and error, when earlier, they could only feed on the ground on scraps dropping from the hearty woodpeckers that seem to know it all. If I didn’t have their intense blue, soft chub of a body, bestowing some necessary grace and ease on me, their willed beaking of the sustaining suet like a ballet of acrobats before my eyes—I might doubt everything.
Raphael Kosek’s poems and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry East, Catamaran, Briar Cliff Review, and many other journals. AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY was a finalist at Brick Road Poetry Press and released in 2019. ROUGH GRACE, her last chapbook, won the 2014 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Prize. Her lyric essays won first place at the Eastern Iowa Review and Bacopa Literary Review, and her work has garnered several Pushcart Prize nominations. She teaches English at Dutchess Community College and served as the 2019-2020 Dutchess County, NY Poet Laureate. She loves the unique freedom of flash CNF. www.raphaelkosek.com
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