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


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


A butcher’s
deft hand
the type of meat
the knife cuts
from the resistance
of the flesh
to the blade.

In high school
biology class
I butchered the frog
we dissected
and mangled
some of the organs
to be observed
and instantly
crossed Meat
off my potential
career list.

At the grocery
I spend extra money
to purchase
chicken parts
instead of
a whole fryer
and rationalize
my unwillingness
to gain skill
with a knife
as producing
less food waste.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney