Ostéon by William Harris

Unzip my bones
and you’ll find I’m a chromosome away
from a minotaur,

or being entirely covered with hair
or the biggest lightning big undiscovered.
Just like if you add leaves to a rollercoaster

a forest is born
with animals banging through tree limbs,
holding their arms up and shouting

There’s more than marrow and calcium to bones:
they are pillows

for lovers’ heads
before the decapitation of relationships
but after the separation of koitus,

they are the weapon of Samson
as he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone
of a donkey. Imagine if he used a jawbone

of a mastodon or
of a minotaur;
of an elephant or a newborn squirrel.

As a boy I climbed a rock at Yellowstone
and slipped— fell—
and just before hitting the ground remembered how to fly.

But my bones weren’t hollow anymore
when I stood up, or at least
not enough,

so I still can’t fly.
When a dog buries a bone
it digs only deep

enough to cover it; yet shallow
enough to still smell the bone beneath the earth.
I suppose that’s the secret to life.


A high school dropout after being suspended my senior year for possession of a fork and empty muffin wrapper, I attained my BA in English Literature from the University of Tennessee— Knoxville and am currently a graduate student in DePaul University’s MA in Writing and Publishing program. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, I am employed at the Art Institute of Chicago where I sell audio guides. My poetry has appeared in such publications as Canyon Voices, Poetry Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ascent Aspirations, and Write On!!! I enjoy playing the guitar and Chess, and committing poems to memory.