Rib Bower

Each breath, though fleeting, is part of the body too,

ever linked to the beat of the heart, the pulse from the ribs.

Cage is the common, medic’s metaphor:

but this word does not fit you,

with all that sculpted tension beneath flesh

enough to make the bones invisible, but not so much

as to make them unapparent to my touch.

Muscular drumskin of solar plexus fills the gap to the front;

rounded rungs of spine complete the heart-pen to the back.

I see and feel a bower, not a cage,

a horizontal framed willow arbour for a child’s quiet nest,

a place for telling stories, for settling secure and tight –

thick springy weaves of even branches,

bent to wicker curves, softly hardened over time,

cross-hatched lines of suppleness, bound only by each other.

Your ribs have hands, fingers to find me, bind me

to the spell of your sanctuary’s stories.