Ode to the Hyoid Bone

Juliana Gray


Little floater, adrift from other bones,
you hang above the throat like a lucky horseshoe,
supporting the tongue, aiding breath and speech.
They call you gallow bone, call a crack
in you the hangman’s fracture; yet because
you hover, unattached, you slide beneath
a noose or ligature, remaining whole.
If you break, you break within the grip
of human hands. When bruises fade and flesh
has slipped from bone, little boomerang,
you return to tell a shattered story.




Juliana Gray’s third poetry collection, Honeymoon Palsy, was published by Measure Press in 2017. Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Pine Hill Review, Poetry Northwest, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and teaches at Alfred University.