December 18, 2007


The bone in the ice cream, picked out, held
between the thumb and forefinger,

the startle of it, the catch in the breath,
the sick pit in the heart or stomach,

the queer blare of bone, of bloodspot
in the vanilla—the thought that this, perhaps,

is where something twittered away—


When it melts, ice cream is a thrill of rivulets,
is a sweet, pooling thing,

but the bone is blade-like
at the edges. Where did it come from?

Bird bone, finger bone, hollow as a flute
and playable, bleached and smooth to the thumb-

caress. The bone in the ice cream is terrible


and aches the teeth. How the face hurts
when the mouth bears down

on the cool, the strange, the gruesome truth
of it. What left the bone in the ice cream?

What cruel hand or wing, lopped and swirled away?
What bird? What angel? Splintered pointer,

flute that sings the sweetness away.

—Kevin Prufer
from The finger Bone (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2002)

Posted by dwaber at December 18, 2007 09:53 PM