(Skeleton Collector)

by Marisa Siegel

The bones were buried years ago/were buried yesterday/were never really buried and now we are digging. We are digging everyday, and someone is sure we’ve dug deeper than the bones were buried but the bones are not there.

The drawer is empty. It isn’t a trick but it isn’t an accident.

She had a special brush            she thought if she brushed the bones
with it and murmured the quiet prayer then she could give
them the answers            she could collect her paycheck
she could go home.

But the bones were not there, and the brush though she’d had it in her
hand just a moment
ago/just yesterday/ten years ago            it was gone.

(Previously published in There, Issue 4, 2008.)