Poem for the Day: September 21st, 2021

Somewhere Else: Poems by Matthew Shenoda

Relics by Matthew Shenoda

Scrabbling bones together like a gathering of river stones

Bones become sacred
Human remains, memories of cartilage
Piled centuries high
Skulls and leg remnants begin to tell the stories of before.

I am the once-severed arm of a young girl
Scrambling for a foothold in this desert
Where once my enemy chased did not live

I am the fingers of a woman whose knuckles live beneath a flower box

We remember each other through these bones
Through the songs of calcium deficiency and famine strings that strum us into night
We are the gathering of old-timers whose eye sockets tell stories of victory

We are a memory shaped by vertebrae
Clappers of rhythm disassembled by the skeletons of time

I am the keeper of a man whose only hope was grounding toil
Scrubbing my skin with the earth for food

I am the elbow of children whose eyes switched at the thought of cold

I am the shin of garbage collectors building stamina for a city to come

We are a memory shaped by vertebrae
Clappers of rhythm disassembled by the skeletons of time
We are the dissipating by the skeletons of time
We are the dissipating cartilage of our great-grandchildren's memory holding to their sockets by a sinew of hope

Making sense of these bones we reassemble history
Making ancestral tapestries in the shape of retaining walls

We are a memory shaped by a vertebrae
Clappers of rhythm disassembled by the skeletons of time

You are the skin behind the clouds

Matthew Shenoda currently teaches at San Francisco State University and works as an activist in the Bay Area. Somewhere Else: Poems was released in 2005 by Coffee House Press and is available to order on their website.

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