Last year she was slowly drifting, falling. Now her descent has accelerated. She is a holocaust. She’s walking backwards, a relic of the skeletal future. She is Death animated in a parody of energy with her endless pacing and twitching and isometric exercises. She looks like she ought to be in a cage. She looks like she ought to be chained up somewhere. Her skin is dry parchment on her face, like cobwebs, like old ladies’ breath. You can count her teeth with her mouth shut; they jut out like the windows of a lighthouse. Exophthalmic eyes, bright glassy marble eyes. She falls away from her face, from a head that looks too big for that spindly, corrugated neck. She looks like something off the news, a television tourist from those far-off places where disasters happen. She could be cuddled by a soapie star to some moving music. That’s what she needs. A soundtrack. Without that, she’s only bones. Explicit ribs form the barrel of her insect-like thorax. It could be an exoskeleton. She could be a praying mantis. The vertebrae ascend from her sacrum to her nape like a row of buttons. She’s hairy, too. She is a little hairy animal with soft, black down on her chest and back. The graceful curves of the pelvic girdle, now fleshless, look like components of heavy machinery. The patella slides around in its slot, so obvious. The ulna and radius compete for your attention every time she moves her fingers. The ropey brachial arteries on her upper arms do their business before your very eyes. The clavicles could be handles, the way they stick out there, and each scapula is as sharp as a stick. And when her eyes close, the round holes of the lacrimal bones still stare at you. She is nothing but apparent. She has nothing to hide. The wind won’t knock her down, it blows straight through her. A girl laughs, with real envy in her voice. “You are so lucky, you don’t have to worry about your ass hanging out of your jeans.
“Yes”, she smiles, skin pulling back across her teeth, ghastly. Her friends can’t afford to lose any more people. They want to cry, don’t leave me, but they can’t even speak.