David Harrison challenges poets to write around a single word and lets his readers vote for their favorite. In November 2009, the word was “bone.” My poem placed second.
Borrowing, trying, lacing, tying. Wobbling on blades.
I am only here to keep my promise.
Ankle bones in leather bones.
Lurching, weaving, balancing, careening. Lunging for support.
Really, my child, do we have to do this?
Hand bones grab rail bones.
Smoothing, slicing, soaring, gliding. Feeling more confident.
I begin to remember now.
Skate bones warm cold bones.
Speeding, flying, circling, smiling. Ending with a “snow” drop.
Little girl, don’t! I can’t stop well.
Leg bones change vector bones.
Deciding, collapsing, losing, crashing. Tangling blades at eye level.
If I fall backwards, I won’t hurt her.
Head bones slam ice bones. Blackout.
(Yelling, crying, 911 dialing. Clearing the ice.
“Let me in! That’s my mom!”
Taut bones surround limp bones.)
Waking, fogging, freezing, throbbing. Encircled by men in red.
“Do you know what happened to you?”
Backboard bones brace vital bones.
Pounding, darkening, flashing, recalling. Wall-bending siren.
Where is my daughter?
Metal bones speed fractured bones.
Battering, aching, pulsing, nauseating. Searing headache.
I need to throw up.
Competent bones tilt strapped bones.
Whirling, dipping, dropping, flipping. Passing out from vertigo.
My brain rides a wild roller coaster.
MRI bones scan swelling in brain bones.
(Paralysis, blindness, dumbness, death. Telling the worst.
“It could happen at any moment.”
Truth bones terrify family bones.)
Sleeping, waking, stirring, fainting. Existing in intensive care.
Why do all the doctors keep repeating themselves?
Question bones test damaged bones.
Grumping, snipping, eating, grinning. Grouching at doctors.
I have the answers memorized.
Word bones deter bonecutters.
Tottering, wobbling, reading, talking. Managing a walker.
I have lost so many words.
Drug bones ease bone pain.
Striding, chuckling, singing, studying. Visiting school.
My students’ faces shine.
Healed bones are ready bones.