Andrea Applebee

On Clavicles

  1. That hold and rest. The clavicle is the first bone to begin ossifying and the last to finish: a long bone, hard, and without marrow.
  2. A small bolt that fastens you limb to body: either of two curvings attaching breastbone to shoulders rounded, thrown back. Part of the pectoral girdle, that embracing trap, where fins derived before arms. Rising above it the stalk of your neck, and below it sits your first rib.
  3. All the time I have spent my cheek against the clavicle of my lover, and even if there is a need in the bone to be near bone. No record of this.
  4. Only skin covers this bone so easily surveyed by finger and tongue, and on slender frames also by eye. In some analogy to the hips to take hold of both clavicles is to take hold of something more.
  5. On birds two fused clavicles form the wishbone. In order to obtain a wish from such a bone, once called a merry-thought, you have to break it between yourself and another.
  6. This hardened tendril, brief in its defiance of the harder grip of the earth. They break most often during birth, when they break. From the Latin root clavis, small key, which it shares with the clavier instruments–pianos, harpsichords. A sort of crossbeam, also called a collar bone.
  7. An exposed support, and all buildings were scaffolding once with workmen whistling. It swivels and curves when you move, level of even the most stilted walk. Thicker and more pronounced on people that do physical work for a living, a softer less articulate line on those of delicate health.
  8. On puppets, where the strings attach. From this dangle the means to drag and lift, to pull each our tiny burdens, onward through the murk, up and down the ridges of mountains. How it spans, even in death, a suspension bridge.