Skeleton Woman: Cremator of bones

by Frances Roberts- Reilly

Skeleton boat

With automatic hand
Your oar, strokes amorously.
Your boat
Gliding on the river.

Have you sailed these waters
Where Daimon's breath
Takes your ardent sails
Against all willpower?

In my mirrored
Crone's milky eye
These white coral bones
Slowly caressed
By the whispering current;
Draw you into my arms.

Now the water refracting
Lustrous shards of moonlight
A Chiaroscuro, transmuting and inverting
Inky blue-black-white water.
Rippling towards the sea.

The incubator of bones
Cracking open
Thy boon
Amethysts light Violet
From within;
Gems Of the first water.
I sing Abraxas' charms, and
Girdled in helioropes,
Fire Opals and red coral.
Offering my wise marrow
Bid you to my boney bed.

After the bonfire,
Under the fire pit embers -
My fingers
Glow into words.
Writ large
Upon your soul,
Cremator of bones

By the waters
You sit down and weep
At your back
You hear the chunk, chunk of my bones.
You see our bodies naked
On soggy colloidal soil -
Our bones scattered -
Cast in runes
Across the sky.

In my bones I hear
The water's skin
Shivers with sorrow. And beneath
A requiem laments -
Floats and rocks the waters.

It is I,
Bone Gatherer, Bone Woman
Dancing on
The elemental edge of longing.


Frances Roberts-Reilly

Frances is a poet, storyteller and filmmaker. She has published numerous short stories, articles and poems and she has been a guest author on CBC Radio. Her Green Man chapbook is published by Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS), and her poem Song of the Rose was awarded TOPS Most Popular Poem in 2007.

The League of Canadian Poets featured her poems for National Poetry Month and she was twice invited to contribute her poems in honor of Lt. Col. John McCrae, author of the famous WWI poem In Flanders Fields in celebration of Canada Day on July 1st.

Born in England of Welsh Romany ancestry, she came to Canada in 1977. She began writing seriously in 1972, whilst working at BBC television in London, England. After making award-winning documentaries, she earned an Honors degree in English Literature at the University of Toronto. She makes her homes in Guelph, Ontario and Gulfport, Florida.
Frances Roberts-Reilly

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