Only tempered thorns can bear
beauty’s weight—like birthstones,
cupped in the prongs of their mothers’ rings,
each a glint. One flash,

and shrapnel unlocks
the ivory columns of vertebrae,
those sacral knobs, the spurs,
and hollows. Each of us

is diminished: something
central caves in, our lungs
bereft of even emptiness. We see
those rings are ours, circles invoking

reflex. This is how we swallow
death—a vibration that registers first
in the ears, then settles,
echoing, throat to breastbone.





Laurieheadshot2Laurie Klein is the author of Where the Sky Opens and Bodies of Water, Bodies of Flesh. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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