March 28, 2017

The Bone Woman

The Bone Woman, a story from the frozen lands...

Once upon a time, a young woman was thrown into the icy sea by her father. No one knows why this was done, whether just or unjust. After many, many years, what remained of her was still there, floating like coral beneath the waves, a thing of wrack and bone. One day, a man came fishing in his kayak and hooked the bone woman by a rib. When he pulled up his line, he was terrified to see her, a moving skeleton. He dropped the line at his feet, paddled desperately for shore, beached the kayak, and ran to his house. Still, tangled in the fishing lines that dragged behind him, she was there. In the house, he faced the pile of bones with terror and despair.

Then something changed. As he looked on the heap of her, he felt sorry, saddened by the tangles and disarray of her, by the life caught in death. Singing softly, as one would sing to soothe a child, he began to untangle bones from netting, ribs from hooks, legs from lines. Finally she lay there aligned, aright, on the cold floor. Suddenly weary, he looked toward his bed. But before he curled beneath his covers, he wrapped the bones in furs. It may seem a useless gesture, keeping the cold from a dead thing. But the soul speaks a strange language, conjuring sorrow from terror, and being from seeming.

As he slept, he dreamt of the bone woman, and wept. The bone woman saw the tears, or smelled the salt water gathered at the corner of his eye, and moved to taste it. A single tear slaked the thirst of who knows how many years, and she woke again to wanting life. Carefully, so carefully, never waking him, she borrowed his heart. With the beating heart drumming in her bony frame, she sang a new song. She sang herself back to being, sang flesh about the bones, sang back her breasts and organs, secret bits and bright eyes. She built blue-black hair and fine sinews, and rounded her belly and hips. Carefully, so carefully, she returned his heart. Then she slipped into his bed, fitting herself to his side.

They say that the fisherman and the bone woman went away together, and lived well, ever fed by creatures from the sea, who knows how long. A long time, forever, maybe. This is magic, after all.

There is a bone woman in all of us. Find your magic where you can.

outside in

rain is falling
snow is melting
some frozen sorrow thaws and shifts in me
outside is inside me
or my inside has escaped into the world.

all that mud
everything squishy and plashy and puddled
my heart like a frozen toad
opens one eye
sees the first green shoots piercing snow
thinks how brave
how foolish too.

be careful with what's left of my heart
my head, a canny old crow,
already is not your ally.

Zeroing In

This is very much a work-in-progress... But in case anyone wants to get started on alternatives to store-bought cleaners and cosmetic items...