A City Built On Bones

Ann K. Schwader

A City Built On Bones

 

A city built on bones cannot deny

its origins: the skull racks & the blood,

the ones who perished never knowing why.

 

Cathedrals painting faith across the sky

arose from altars to some darker god

a city built on bones cannot deny,

 

but only bury. Briefly. As the cries

of earthquake-sacrifices fade to mud,

the ones who perished never knowing why

 

embrace them. Heartless, flayed, & shadow-eyed,

they claim their kin at once. Is this so odd?

A city built on bones cannot deny

 

its native citizens. Although the lies

of men, not gods, unleashed this sanguine flood,

the ones who perished never knowing why

 

are no less dead, their lives torn out to buy

the sun back. Haunted legacy of fraud,

a city built on bones cannot deny

the ones who perished never knowing why.

_______________

Ann K. Schwader’s poems have recently appeared in Spectral RealmsDreams & NightmaresStar*Line, Weird Fiction Review, and Modern Haiku. Her most recent poetry collection, Dark Energies (P’rea Press 2015) was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist, as was one previous collection, Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam’s Dot 2010). She is also a two-time Rhysling Award winner, for both short and long form speculative verse.  Ann lives and writes in suburban Colorado.

Editor’s Notes: This wonderfully wrought villanelle is accented by the symbolic image: a confluence of Josh Hosler’s Episcopop image of skeletons (valley if dry bones) and a silhouette of a city skyline anchored in a religious-volatile geography

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