My Daughter Brings Home Bones

By Jennifer Richter
and piles them on the driveway: femur, rib, jawbone with a few
flat teeth attached, dozens of thin arced parts. This one for me—40
today. My birthday sent her to the woods and back. Chloe leans
in on her knees, arranges the bones along a concrete seam that
leads out to the street. In this next decade, she'll go: head off like
today, take into her arms all she's curious about. Her line of bones
makes an arrow; sun lights them like a sign. She'll go: undeniable
as these bones, baffling as what animal they'd make. She's on all
fours. The way I labored: some wild thing. She lays out arms and
legs; the bones in line make a spine. My height. On the driveway
lies my body—when it held her—inside out. The way she came:
like bones. Gleaming, after living in my dark. Gleaming. So I can
always find her.

Jennifer Richter, "My Daughter Brings Home Bones" from No Acute Distress. Copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Richter.  Reprinted by permission of Southern Illinois University Press.
Source: No Acute Distress (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016)