Being thin, I feel mortality
more than most, because it’s always there
in rib and hipbone, right beneath my skin.
Here in my wrist and clavicle I see
my skeleton laid prematurely bare—
the frame under the flesh. Because I’m thin,
my sternum, sacrum, and my stony spine,
at night especially, rise up to remind
me I’m a living ossuary. Yet,
haunted by my bones’ gaunt pokes and fey
elbowings, I’m glad enough to let
them prod me with their message—Seize the day with
metacarpals wide—not to forget
what waits only a thin membrane away.

                   —Deborah Warren

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 40 Number 4, on page 55
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