Thasos, Greece

You begin with the bones, their honey-
combed crevasses airy and bloodless,
the marrow gone to dust.

You finger the hollow cranium, imagine
hooking each vertebrae into place—threading
together the chain link spine,

hanging the ribs. The teeth,
you think, would be easiest; how they love order
even now, stone-white soldiers

refusing surrender. The unliving beast
would slowly emerge, terrorless and mute,
a mannequin of its former furred and bleating self.

But this is not what drove you
to pause on the path, to cradle femur, tibia, and shard
in your sack of not-skin, to carry death’s leftovers

on your back like a too-tired infant.
When you bring the bones down the mountain,
unbury them one by one, you do not want to

build the beast back, or undo
what brought this horned thing to your table.
Rather, you want to understand surrender,

to see with your own eyes what becomes
of the body, this creaky, bone-borne carriage
you will drive through your life to its end, then,

somehow, let go.

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014) and Honeyfish, (2018 Green Rose Prize, New Issues 2019). Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies such as The Atlantic, Ms. Muse, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Guernica, The Caribbean Writer, and Crab Orchard Review, among others.