* * * * * * * * * * * * *

John Greiner is a poet and playwright living in New York City. His poetry has most recently appeared in The Blue House, All Rights Reserved, The Argotist Online, Moria, Ascent Aspirations, The Green Muse and Inscribed. His theatrical pieces have enjoyed successful runs in New York, Chicago and in Massachusetts.

Bone Box

To see what he had found
was her only goal,
and his objective was even
more simple, to keep
her in a state of suspense.

When he first bought
the ancient dusty box,
supposed to hold the skulls
of pygmies, and the bones
which had brightened their teeth,
back from the antiquarian
shop along the Spree,
he knew that he would
hold her forever.

She was a girl of simple
tastes in blood and marrow,
and in spite of the fact
that he had told her
what lay within he would
never allow her to open
the box, nor would
he indulge her by lifting
the lid in her presence.

The years passed in this manner.
He taunted her for her knowledge,
and her inability to touch.
Finally the day arrived
when he decided to depart
to colder digs under the dirt
mound of which he had always
dreamt of.

Being a woman now,
much aged, and lacking
the options that youth
would have once provided
her with, she decided to take
off to the land of exotic
dalliances. He had left
her with nothing, saying
that he was nothing more
than the noble skeletal remains
that his box for so long had held.
Beneath the mound,
turning green he achieved
his desire still holding his box.
She no longer could desire the thing
that he for so long had held.

Boarding the passenger liner,
and taking her place in
a cramped cabin third class,
she hoped that when the day
came, and the waves of the ocean
tortured by storm fell silent,
that she would be able
to answer for herself,
and all of the things
that she had left undefined with him.

Finally the day came
when the waves were silenced,
and she set foot on the land
where dalliances found
their exotic manifestation.
On that day her legs failed her.
A cabin boy who had taken
a liking to her after
the captain had decided
that there were far more
fascinating things to taste
than her dried lips,
decided that it would
be to everyone’s benefit
to help her depart the ship.
He carried her off
as if she were a paraplegic
child suffering from the
ocean’s dementia in his arms,
and dropped her on the sand
so that the waves could clean
her bones while the revelers
danced in the distance
indulging in one another,
and all that she had
ever hoped for, all that
had laid hidden in the box
that she had for so long
knew the contents of,
but in which she had never
been allowed to look.
At last her thoughts began
to fade as the sun allowed
her eyes to fall to the back
of her wind swept mind.


Copyright © 2007 John Greiner