We must have always known about bones.
We must have suspected – back even when suspecting meant snuffling the air with
narrowed eyes – that the fine white hard delicateness within the creatures we ripped open and ate
existed also within us. We must have seen at some time or another one of us crushed below a
tree, a mammoth, a cliff, and seen the shattered sharp ends of bones yawning out of the broken
And we must have connected them, somehow, to the uprightness we felt, to the tough,
brittle structures of our fingers, to the cracking in our walking hips. We must have pulled the
skin off of animals’ ribs, and stroked our own ridged sides, pondering.
We must have been scientists, comparing our arms to the wings of birds. We must have
seen that they too bend at the elbow, that we too have two-boned forearms. We might have
looked suddenly at the sky, cast our arms behind us, and beat them. We would have felt the
solidity of our femurs, the thick weight of our pelvises. We would have imagined feathers, and
stroked our matted hides.
We must have balled our bony fists in frustration. We must have seen our knuckles, and
spread our soft-hard hands in wonder.
Laura Fletcher studied creative writing at Princeton University. Her work has previously appeared or been recognized in The Writing Disorder, The Masters Review, and Wilderness House Literary Review. She has been an educator, entrepreneur, consultant, product manager, and apprentice baker, though is happiest when she is a writer. She currently lives with her family in Denver, Colorado and finds the mountains a great comfort.