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skeleton key

(Odocoileus virginianus)

john martone

samuddo / ocean 2012

skeleton key copyright 2012 by john martone samuddo / ocean isbn 978-1-105-53007-4

skeleton key

(Odocoileus virginianus)

In this way he abides contemplating the body as a body

one breath after an other all

trees budding too soon you rip up those pages

look at yr fingers cant see the cliff edge

a road-shoulders cold-shouldered walking

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really human two legs in ditch water

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ditchwater full of life but that road

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yr breath same length as spine

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a deers path all the way to its death

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the rivers length a skele ton deer

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hundred yards from rest of the skeleton legs

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4 knees bending every way death

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And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world

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yr frozen hands a skeleton deer

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it will be like that

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a skeleton deer you pull on yr gloves

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a skeleton deer you take off yr gloves

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driftwood & bones youre turning home now

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a skeleton deer opens it all

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devoured by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals, or various kinds of worms

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thru deers eye orbit lake

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here a hand-bone, there a foot-bone, here a shin-bone, there a thigh-bone, there a back-bone, here a rib-bone

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that space prairie whitetail brainpan

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dogs & crows raccoons & worms life on earth

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that too is how a bhikkhu abides

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interlude Psycho-social rehab/mental health groups meet in old factory cavernous yawning empty as mind itself w/ broken green windows, guano floor, & I-beam pigeons. A cats spine bleaches on the loading bay, & farther out theres nothing, nothing in the water-tower distances to Canada, & those water towers empty, white as clouds. Were waiting for snow to dream its way down from that arctic above our heads. Lunch today is grilled cheese sandwiches. Chips.

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mentally unfit crouching at a deer skull

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deer skull sutures take the finest pen you have

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skeleton deers rib-cage of course yr suit-size

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held together with sinews


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far from rest deers pelvis snagged in root

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deer bones undo you

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its vanishing factors

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milk weed & deer skull seams opening

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milkweed tufts

that deers fur

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here a neck bone, there a jaw bone, here a tooth

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a skeleton deer runs up & down this side of the river

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this same body

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wind rips thru yr overalls & deer skeleton

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bones bleached white, the color of shells

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a skeleton deer bounds into yr dream

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a skeleton deer come to comfort you

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this body too is of the same nature

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raccoon tracks at yr heart skeleton deer

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the body as a body

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perfect teeth & man dible far from home

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skeleton deer hollow as any tree

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skeleton deer an acorns fate


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everything disbands all the time -- Upasika Kee Nanayon

so many pieces so much looking skeleton deer

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rotted and crumbling to dust

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a mild winter after all deer skeleton

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river casts up turtle shell & lady shoe

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interlude A salvage food-store (step above food pantry) half-stocked shelves of ruined truckloads dinged cans (nothing swollen) taped-up cereal boxes, vitamins in disarray, applesauce & some shampoo, & here you are unbroken spaghetti & can of sauce no bread tho & a middle aged woman in an old cloth coat has found some toys, a top, spins round & round & waits on line w/ others from her group home.

boiling spaghetti sauce straight from can midnight snow

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all this time you too dis arti cu lating

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bones heaped up, more than a year old

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a deer skeleton running to diatoms

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skeleton deers ear bones turn to sky

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internally, externally, and both internally and externally

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winter gusting thru skeleton deer nothing at all

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eyeorbit rib & spine all those lunar curves night is hollow

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not exempt from that fate

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seagulls circle hominid crouches skeleton deer

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winter nights the skeleton deer yr constellation

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you w/ yr fingers deer needs just 2 toes

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interlude Look youre a bundled-up hoodie (60 years old) walking the factory service road to mental health, cars flashing past it was a long way down & out to these fields only a decade ago you plodded miles of winter mud one night, losing yr boots, & mud refroze, & you died there, whatever his name was. Nothings wrong. You look in a mirror at someone or other head shaved, weight-lifter shoulders, bug-eyed w/ glasses thick as Santokas. The mirrors grimy; but at least hes not naked. Theres that undershirt, whitetail white.

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there is a body

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see thru deer eyesockets & hear that freight train

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all winter deer & you scarcely bathe

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thru thorns down to river to wash

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skeleton deer now a trillion invisible lives

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skeleton deer crawdad hole skeleton deer muskrat lodge skeleton deer beaver dam skeleton deer warbler nest heron nest redwing nest squirrel nest skeleton deer skeleton deer & all gone home

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Anicca vata sankhara Uppada vaya dhammino Uppajjitva nirijjhanti Tesam vupasamo sukho. Dukkha vata sankhara Uppada vaya dhammino Uppajjitva nirujjhanti Tesam vupasamo sukho. Anatta vata sankhara Uppada vaya dhammino Uppajjitva nirujjhanti Tesam vupasamo sukho.

Truly all that is conditioned is transient. Truly all that is conditioned is suffering. Truly all that is conditioned is not-self ... It is their nature to arise and pass away. Once arisen, they disappear. Their cessation is happiness dhm 20

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