he uses my spine as a doorstop,
lets the angular bone of my first lumbar
prop books open, & sometimes acts
as a hastily found paperweight.
the thoracic vertebrae are so irregular,
he keeps them stored in a jar
in the corner of the office.
at night, the dull ache in my lower back
is him, letting heavy doors slam shut,
scattering skeleton fragments
across the floors; i am
thrown at the windows,
holes drilled through spinal matrix,
sandpapering down the edges
when the shape doesn’t suit.
under his bed, forgotten, is the axis;
hanging from the ceiling, the C1-
my atlas made into a dream catcher
of spider silk, dust, and old ligaments
twirling in the empty dark.




Joyce Chong writes poetry and fiction in Ontario, Canada. Her work has recently appeared in Noble Gas Qtrly, alien mouth, Flapperhouse, and is forthcoming in Liminality Magazine and Looseleaf Magazine. You can find her at or you can follow her on twitter at @JoyceEmilyC.


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Cover Photo: Poster Boy (