Today was the first day I felt your bones
And not your breath.
Today was the first day I ran my fingers over your clavicle
And not your skin.
Today was the first day I lay against your rib cage
And not your chest, taut and rich with youth and fear,
Today I felt the hardness of your jaw
Not the warmth of your tongue, not the richness of your lips, not the redness of your mouth.
Today I wrapped my hands around stark jutting knuckles
Not sweaty palms, not sweet grasping fingers
So eagerly seeking my own. .
Today as I slept my feet wrestled with bare bright shins
The kind of whiteness that blinds
Colder than January snows.
Today was the first day I listened not to the beating of your heart
But to the echoes of wind through your ribs, to words you never said,
To echoes of words.
Today I lay with the skeleton of what might have been
Dry and brittle, gaping eyes, wide smile
The dream of you
Crumbling into dust
At my feet.
Images are photographs of a mixed-media work by illustrator Dan Beckemeyer. Pen and ink with stitching and hand-felting on abaca paper.