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Gavin J. Grant is the editor of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, the publisher of Small Beer Press, and works at BookSense.com, the online portal for independent bookshops.

Dark Planet is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments, please contact her at lusnyde@cyberus.ca.

All materials copyright 1996-2001 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

Rites: Cleaning the Last Bones

by Gavin J. Grant

Crow hopped forward and plucked the eye,
Held it high for all to see.
With a jerk, swallowed it whole.

Lion padded quietly up through accustomed space,
Left the ribs neatly to the side.
Choked the tough heart down.

Softer parts vanished in a sharp-toothed liquid rush of fur,
Insects rose and fell, fell and rose.
-- Waves on a disappearing beach.

Monkey took a rock
And soon was feeding alone
On delicate gray matter.

Cat watched, licking one paw, then the other.
Dog watched, a deeper silence.

Something worried at tendons, ligaments,
Something sucked at the long cracked bones,
Interwoven footprints mapped the human form.

A gentle breeze blew a dry
brown sycamore leaf over the skeleton.
Night came.