A Discovery of Bones (alternately, The Inventor)
It began softly. She draped herself over them,
matchsticks of perfect wedding white,
and they counted her breaths, the first
and the next and the next and the next.
The whole, in truth, seemed less
than the sum of the moving parts.
Anatomy, mechanics, science, magic
—all cognates. All whispered secrets
under skin. But then she got up
and in that instant, I could’ve mistaken her
for a sonnet to a thunderstorm, a song that races
the lightning to the ground. Years later they ask me
“how did you do it?” (and I have no answer.)
She told me a secret once. It went something like
calcium and loneliness can bond, can make
the strongest substance we inherit
from biology and blood. That day I watched
but did not touch. I saw but did not speak.
I swear she wasn’t so tall at first. I swear
I stayed removed. No one will believe me,
but I didn’t forge her ligaments.
I swear I swear I swear.
No one will believe me, but here it is.
Her rise was of her own making. She lifted
her own skeleton off the ground.
No one will believe me, but what? But nothing.
I swear I only taught her how to stand.
By Christina Im
Christina Im is fifteen years old and attends high school in Portland, Oregon. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Rose Red Review, Words Dance, Strange Horizons, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In addition, her work has been recognized by Hollins University and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.