Thirteen Ways of Looking at Clavicles by Helen Freeman

I With ruler
and protractor
I appraise the clavicle.

II Among 206 human bones
the only long one lying down
is the clavicle.

III A shoulder blade, a clavicle
and a sternum are almost one,
all three girdle magic appeal in place.

IV Little key, open
sesame, clavicula
rotating access.

V A stiletto heel
finely fashioned
of bone and marrow –
not a place to lay your head.

VI Hens strut through
shallow puddles
on splayed feet,
roosters vaunt.

VII Laughing gull
on clavicle crane jib
brings drama to the face.

VIII O raised arch, O pedestal,
O furcula of wish and whim,
why do you break
more than any others?
Do you really bring luck?

IX Waists fatten, flesh droops,
all is subject to Time’s jiggle
but the clavicle shows little.

X You can’t be spanked, bitten or pinched,
kneaded, sucked or held onto.
You incur no nip-tuck bills.

XI Inner essence –
approachable but
never fully known.

XII If I could be that mole on your clavicle,
I’d sing bold airs to your heart.

XIII Throw your head back
straighten your shoulders
raise a glass of Veuve Cliquot
in the chalice at the base of your neck