a bag a bone a house of dust
Shayn Nicely

Give me the best of your dust.
The shards too sharp to carry home, the ones that draw blood,
whatever collage you can manage to assemble

anchored to a pink box labeled SECRET or excavated from your bone-cage,

the Department doesn’t care how or where.
Just so long as they maintain the rights to the remains

spattered with fluorescent stains under a black-light

blue bulb strictly for research purposes. (Never to be abused

for the sake of connective tissues or sympathy from researcher

to subject. That’s in the Department handbook. This is museum property.)

Fingerprints? You betcha. Heartbeat?

Can’t find one. Now the fingers probing this shipwreck

are mine, carefully gloved, so removed.

I touch the still-warm corners and corridors where you huddled, still-warm;

the flashes I see must be false memory. You’re not supposed to imagine names

or their family. Put the dust in a plastic bag to go home with you

on late nights, where in private you may eat it or smell it deeply.

But do you think she was afraid of anything? your fingers

might ask themselves. Do do do you think they loved, and who, how

Do do you think they ever loved a bag of dust, or touched

a bone and connected to it like tissue?

OK, team, let’s focus. Scalpel.

Let’s open Human Being #1: Exhibit A.
We’ve got red. Go ahead.

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