Ode to My Bones

By Lauren Camp

As a girl, I fell many times, my uncertain bones bending out, a potential for perfection lost in a clumsy arrangement of body parts linked with diabolical thought. A finger, a finger, an outline, a draft, the fascia, the proximal row of a hand, ligament, nerve, and each carpal bone to my radial-ulna fitting abruptly,

then failing. Still a child, my spine spiraled and curved like a kite. In the middle, it puckered and bound, as though a big wind had carried it off then returned it, pressured and dragging. Where bones should have been straight as a candle, connective tissue bent to the side. Vertebrae dripped into spaces suddenly solid when I changed direction, and made me stop turning to see.

Grown up, I began the ritual of examining myself. Each night perched on the edge of my bed, I pattered and flitted over adipose and pliable parts with my hands, light as a bird making tracks over shapes and extremities, down each side of my spine, a little bit foolish, but searching, for layers, bristles and rips.


Lauren Camp is the author of two collections. Her third book, One Hundred Hungers, won the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press, 2016). Her poems appear in Radar Poetry, The Seattle Review, World Literature Today, Memorious and elsewhere. Other literary honors include the Margaret Randall Poetry Prize (via The Más Tequila Review) and an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award. Lauren hosts “Audio Saucepan”—a global music program interwoven with contemporary poetry—on Santa Fe Public Radio. www.laurencamp.com.