Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Two Skeletons Found Holding Hands for 700 Years

The first fifty years there was a lot of worm
and wet dirt caught between our fingers.

A few times I considered letting go,
decomposing myself, but things took

a turn for the better when the skin wore
off. The next hundred and fifty years

I learned every curve of every knuckle
on every finger in order: pinky

to thumb. For seventeen years I felt
the hairline fracture on your ring finger

and thought how terrible it was that some
injuries never heal. It took me eight

years to quit playing with your double jointed
thumb, four to tell whose middle finger

was longest (mine), and a little over
two hundred years to write, “I like your palm best”

on the back of your hand. Since then,
I’ve laid here next to you trying to

remember if I took your hand out of fear
that death is being without something or the priest

thought it nice to have a little company
to help pass the time.

Michael VanCalbergh

Michael VanCalbergh was a Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers University – Newark before moving to Normal,  Illinois where he cobbles together a living doing whatever he can. When not pretending to be caught in his daughter’s Pokeball, he co-hosts the comedy etymology podcast Words For Dinner. His work has appeared in Panopoly Zine, Apex Magazine, The Collagist, and elsewhere. (

Artwork: Caryn Drexl

This entry was published on January 31, 2018 at 12:03 am and is filed under 28 (January 2018), Archive, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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