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.