"Ode to My Collarbones" by Hari Bhajan Khalsa

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Ode to My Collarbones  

Slung beneath the barest of flesh, rising and falling with the breath, tenuous 
flexibility from sternum to scapula tip: the clavicle, collarbone, pectoral arch, 

one small key without which the world would clatter into anarchy. 
They swoon and dip, slip down to the pulse of life’s beginning, arcing 

as the horns of a primordial beast along the route from the weighted 
shoulder to marry the breastbone at the tender pulse of the throat. Smooth

skin worn soft and pliable, small dish between the fall of neck and stretch 
of bone a reservoir from which grief and loneliness pool before spilling 

into the chambers of the heart. Oh, collarbones, winged bird of my center, 
balanced as a trapeze artist, arms outstretched in midair — it is you I rely upon 

to brace the osseous cage of my ribs, guard my devoted organs, hover 
my frame, as you so willingly do, with your cardinal span of slender, able bone.

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Hari Bhajan Khalsa

Hari Bhajan Khalsa graduated from Vermont College with a B. A. in Creative Writing in 2005 (after a hiatus from school for thirty years). Her work has been published in Eclipse, Poet Lore, Comstock Review, Sow’s Ear, Roanoke Review, Tiger’s Eye, Schuylkill Valley Journal and Phantasmagoria, among others. She has published a chapbook, Life in Two Parts, and a book of poems, Talk of Snow.

Photo Credit: Olivia Baer