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Relics

April 7, 2010

by Sherry Chandler

The titanium screw will still be in my jaw
when I am six months under in my box.
The plastic lens will fall to the back of my skull.

When all my flesh is in some maggot’s maw,
my knucklebones lie scattered like thrown jacks,
the titanium screw will still be in my jaw.

No wrinkles to deface my bony brow,
my sweet brown eyes reduced to shadowed sockets,
the plastic lens will fall to the back of my skull,

my vertebrae laid flat, all in a row
from C1 by the numbers down to coccyx,
the titanium screw will still be in my jaw.

Reduced to bones from head to hammertoe,
my turned up nose a sink-hole, no more lips,
the plastic lens will fall to the back of my skull.

When I have no tongue to squall and yowl,
no tears, no laugh, no song but hollow clack,
the titanium screw will still be in my jaw,
the plastic lens will fall to the back of my skull.


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Sherry Chandler is the author of Dance the Black-Eyed Girl (Finishing Line) and My Will and Testament is On the Desk (FootHills Publishing). She has received support from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Links to her works can be found on her website.

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  1. April 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    This is stunning. I love the way the syllables trip and stumble like scattering knucklebones and titanium screws. Bravo.

    • E. Gail Chandler
      April 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      I wish I had written that . . .

  2. April 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Wonderful.

  3. April 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    grand poem.

  4. featherheart
    April 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Bravo! Well done Sherry.

  5. Peg
    April 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    The repetition of the form definitely suits the subject matter — and it’s not an ordinary day when one encounters “coccyx” and “sockets” in rhyme! Well done!

  6. Chris
    April 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I love villanelles. So much meat on the bones. Thank you!

  7. April 8, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Wow. This was so wonderful to read aloud. Well done. (And a fellow FootHillsian, too!)

  8. Deb
    April 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Terrific poem on all counts!

  9. April 9, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Thank you all. You make me blush.

  10. April 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    An ironic hymn sung to modern medicine. Plus some apprehension about What Waits.

  11. jessiecarty
    April 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    great work sherry what a terrific use of form!

  1. April 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm
  2. April 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm
  3. April 8, 2010 at 8:47 am
  4. May 2, 2010 at 9:55 am
  5. August 5, 2010 at 6:58 am
  6. November 3, 2010 at 9:51 am
  7. November 9, 2010 at 11:47 am
  8. December 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm
  9. March 31, 2011 at 9:40 am
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