The Craftsman

He planned to fashion wind chimes
from their chipped long bones and dried sinews.
So many years spent in preparation —
he imagined the night breezes of autumn
producing a wild dark dance between
ulna, femur, and radius.
An elegy, a lament, 
          a lullaby.

And he did. In unlit corners
of his soundless basement. He carved,
drilled, screwed, and strung.
But the music generated
was disharmonious and clumsy,
not at all the melodic tribute he’d intended.
The chimes hung heavy on the branch
and flies chased each other between the empty spaces.
He began again, switching dry spine
with the dull spotted steel of his slicing tools.
Stringing the bloodstained blades, he saw them reflected
in the metal,
each knife an eternal mirrored trap of their open mouths,
hair plastered to cheeks by rivers of their tears.

Their mute screams caught the morning sun just right,
swaying from a rusty hook near his bedroom window
and when the winds of October came at last,
he slept peacefully, lulled into Nod
by their unanswered cries for rescue.

Patricia Gomes is the New Bedford poet laureate. patriciagomes.com