The Tragedy of Bones

They stop
when we stop—
like all of traffic
on the express
after an accident.
And as everyone
passes by our bones,
they rubber neck—
looking back at us
wondering if they
are next.

They know, even as they are allowed to go
home and grow— in sleep—
or shrink— in old age;
Their own bones will halt one day.
And that’s all the future is left with
to remember us by.

Not flesh. Not paper. Not celluloid.
Not black magnetic tape or compact disk.
Just what the prehistoric gave to us;
It’s all we’re allowed for sure.

So try to die at a time when you’re young,
beautiful, free of disease.
Get hung up in a museum.
Get numbered, photographed, written about.
Get your bones on a postcard.
Get your bones on film.
Then get your bones in the ground again—
after a more exciting skeleton is exposed.

That is the tragedy of bones;
Alive or Dead;
We get discovered for awhile—
and then, you know the rest.
We get buried up,
forgotten about—
until one day, some scholar
trips on us— and cracks his skull.

written on 12/24/2010 by: Matt Kane