The Bone Palace

Nicole Melchionda

The Bone Palace  

            for Ashley Palis


“As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.”
     —Anne Sexton

You are volcanic.

Maybe it was the taste of silica
or broken promises that were so alluring.
You embodied dormancy but fizzled
on my fingertips. For a moment
I saw you soften and I knew
there were molten chambers
so deep that love could never hope to penetrate.

Lunar goddess, why can I hear the crying
within you whenever pillow cradles my cheek?
Do you sleep in drought
where unresolved energies fossilize?
Maybe we met in infancy
and swapped bones in our embrace.
We are sisters of the marrow,
soft-boiled in pride
thanks to the men who showed us ugly.

I could never pray to deities
who suffer from petrified pregnancies
and never experience the joy of birthing metamorphoses.
You cry in disguise in the arms of mortals
and I wonder if the true meaning of happiness
is to swallow sunshine in its purest form.
We both take solace in silent anatomies.

Will we be forced to witness
the desertification of our mates and learn
that death is indistinguishable from the inside?
The gooey matter that once mattered more
than anything contained in this universe
will always trickle earthward indifferently.

Science has exhumed the stories
that bones have been chattering for centuries:
who we are, where we’ve been, our afflictions—
but this noise does not comfort me.

Lunar goddess, stop and listen
to the soft whirring of living things
and tell me there is still beauty to be found
in the undiscovered trenches of humanity.


Nicole Melchionda is a graduate of Stetson University. There she was mentored by award-winning poet Terri Witek. She’s worked as a journalist, teacher, and blogger. Her work has recently been nominated for the 2018 Best of the Net anthology.

Editor’s Notes:  If you read the poem from which the epigraph comes, “My Lover, Returning To His Wife” (, you might experience additional emotional intensity as I did—perhaps a surreality too. The supermoon and clouds captures a bit of that. It is from The Starry Sky at Night (, which I first found with the poem “To Sleep At Night” By Britt Brooks.

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