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Aly Propes

An Ode to a Ribcage

Awarded Superior in Literary Arts

An Ode to a ribcage. My ribcage.

For you, A list of words I owed would be too long for my spine to support

Each vertebrae quivers with 24 too many.

24 more seconds, words, pages, heartbreaks, songs, or maybe 24 more years.


24 ribs.  Each one of you has kept me up when my strings are cut.

So when my mouth is shut, I have 

words emerge from my deflated lungs as you are the frame for them to fill again.

Never too much. 

It’s an odd sort of remembering when I think of your embrace.

You’re cradling my beating bleeding heart as it crys, as it sings, as it forgets you.

You protect what isn’t yours but what could be. 

Never enough.

My heart isn’t something I will ever give for free.

So when HE tries to steal it, for me would you scream,

“Try and get through me!”


My ribcage doesn’t hold me a hostage. 

She holds me. She remembers I am alive.  when I feel hollow, 

she quivers with my breath reminding me of my lungs, my words, and gives

everything to feel the faltering beats of heart that is somewhere in here.




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