My father was de-boned as a child.
The trick was to use a sharp knife,
steady hands and always begin at the neck.
With luck, my grandparents
were able to remove his spine intact.

But all-muscle can’t hold love upright.
You see strength needs something
to settle itself around. Boneless men
can only stay where they are bent to.
My father was made to cut

his own beatings off a tree,
like pentimenti I sometimes see through
his scars, a perfect whole. But you can’t
dream the broken out of a person
no matter how hard you try.