Exposed by the Elements

Paul catalogued bones.
He had no boxes so made piles.

On each bone he tied a tag
on which he jotted information.

Many of the bones were broken
or fractured.

Any cloth remnants
he taped to the bones by which they lay.

He placed loose teeth in a mason jar.
He placed loose beads in a different mason jar.

He placed oxidized lead bullets
in an old leaded green glass mason jar.

All of the bullets were misshapen.
Some bit bone fragments.

No weapons. No tools.
No other personal effects.

He knew he was not scientific
in the manner of archeologists.

He guessed he broke a law
about uncovering native burial sites.

He rationalized this was not a burial site
but a massacre site.

Working with the dead did not bother him.
He felt ghosts pass by him as he exposed bones to the air.

He did not speculate if the ghosts
rose toward heaven or just let him be.

Paul figured the magpies and crows
passed down stories of what actually happened here.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

note

This is a fictional “what-if one of my hikes passed by exposed bones” poem.

Archeology

Misfortune swells,
bloats under the circling vultures.

The four riders
erupt from the putrid carcass.

Goodness retreats into the shell
of a coward’s design.

The shell breaks open only from within.
Such is its mineral structure.

The evolution of a thousand deaths.
The deployment of loneliness.

In ten thousand years
Misfortune’s bones will be unearthed.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney