Saint Benedict by Francisco de Zurbarán
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

In Subiaco’s caves sits Benedict
who waited for his monk friend, Romanus,
to bring the bread he thought he didn’t need.
His fuga mundi bones a miracle,

the living proof we get what we unearth.
Bring all the bones to me, let’s organize
to find the truth inside the cartilage!
I’ll start by sorting insignificant

from large. If reassembled, what would death
say to the tiny anvil in the ear?
Why don’t we give these bones a chance to speak?
Admire my arrangement, now. The line

sans flesh is practical and perfect, but
perhaps requires a gardener’s eucharist.
A simple sprinkle—hush, and close your eyes.
It’s true the business didn’t work last time,

the sepulcher in stationary dust.
But try again. With eyelids tightly pressed,
you hear a certainty. It countermands
the enemy’s insinuation that

the reason mom can’t rise is more than bone.
Look without blinking. See the mighty swirl
of tornado spirit gathering to
hurl segments of the bones beyond the pale.

The work I did to tidy them was my
own, maverick archeology alone.
Ask me to help next time. I sink within
the heap, where exhalation waits like sleep

or déjà vu—it’s this again. The voice
befriends the hungry feathered poems, and waits
for me, the striving bone collector and
Ezekiel’s bleached disintegrating bones.

Kelsey Sivertson ’24
is studying creative
writing. She was
born and raised in
Holland, MI.

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