Bone-Song

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, July 2010
Judged by Ruth Ellen Kocher


My mother’s bones served a purpose. Grounded
by all that brittle history, a desert coyote’s need
to lie down among sage, to strike a flinty spark,

a lather-talk inside a kettle of blue. Sand, grass,
flower-sky. An interesting canvas, or so we’ve been
taught. A veiny handed hag sleeps out with young

boys. Strange ghost-tumbleweeds rifle through
her thoughts. Father, she threatens rain. A scorpion
retracts its tail to sting. I don’t remember puppy dogs

or snakes. There is salt left behind on a varnished
gin-mill counter, pretzels twisted like my poor
old man’s back. There is a glinty fang-moon howling

through the desert night. A father’s hand, veined
like that, holds up a turtle knowing nothing can beat
the day out of him, not a tire’s wheel, not the sun

that’s burned clear through to his belly. Silently
we hunker down to drag their bones away. Silently,
they beg us to stay, sing our feeble praises.


Bone-Song" utilizes an interesting conflation of lyric narrative with a disrupted narrative. The transformation of the concrete subject of the title immediately transcends the reader's expectation of an uninterrupted trajectory of image, story, song, or subject. The writer especially navigates the use of contiguous relationships at the end of the poem with great skill, drawing the reader into an ending that arrives through implication rather than assertion. The poems resonates most in these last lines as the poem showcases an adept understanding of lyric subtlety. --Ruth Ellen Kocher

  • April 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      (how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game
      by John Wilks
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      A Legacy of Sorts
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Wriiter's Block

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum