After a certain age, the discs between
the spine’s vertebrae get drier and more

compressed. The body shrinks, the back
curves as if from having carried too much

luggage. Once, a woman stepping carefully
across a stage assembled a cage of bones

in a delicate balancing act— laying
the smooth bleached scimitar of one upon

the tip of another, building weight and
counterweight out of chiseled fragments.

She took these and made of herself a moving
column. If wayward breath or wind, if she

should stop or fold: the apparatus would
collapse— so many sticks of kindling.