Songs from the Bone Closet

Songs from the Bone Closet by Martha BraniffIn this, her first collection of poetry and prose, Martha Braniff embraces the healing power of shamans, holy poets and miracle workers. Her instinct for both the real and the magical leads us into the closet surreal, where Lavinia turns into a cat, and Egg and Raven meet at happy hour. When you’re in the mood, you can march with Joan of Arc, soar with John of the Cross, and rendezvous with the Rabbi in Siena. In Holy Places, listen to the prostitute’s plaintive tale about a chapel made of bones and watch a five-year-old boy paint his teepee, leaving behind three turquoise spots. Laugh and cry, but most of all, stretch your reality and plunge into imagination.

My friend Juana, she’d do anything. We hang out near Señior Varga’s grocery store, where fat, tempting pears snuggle in a basket behind the glass. I imagine what cooks inside those pears baking in the sun. Sweet juice flows from hidden black seeds into white meat and makes so much pressure the bruised pears want to burst from pain. I can already taste the sweet sap that will dribble from my lips the minute I slice the skin with my front teeth that grew into my mouth last summer. Suddenly, I look at Juana and dare her. Steal a pear.