The Golden Ox 3rd Place Winner – Luz Bone by María DeGuzmán

Third Place Winner of The Golden Ox Flash/Micro Contest


Traced by ancient sunlight, water brings me a trepanned skull. Is that a soul peering out through a Third Eye porthole? On the point of being pulled from its cranium jail cell? Hoping to escape from its earthbound shackles? From the mounting funerals it has had to attend, bowed on its quaking pedestal of a neck? Every funeral, now, a train wreck of them, death by numbers, 1, 2, 3 …


Spurred by extinction flowing from capital accumulation and devalued care, you have returned past your own lifetime to thoughts of Victorian mourning practices. The adults and married dressed in black; children and the unmarried, in white. Defiant, your own mother’s mother passes before your eyes sheathed in either color or both at once. Moving past as a Veiled Lady, head shrouded in a scarf, a misty landscape behind her, she quarter-turns and murmurs, “Come with me and see, with altered eye, Mr. & Mrs. T.”

Mr. & Mrs. T.

Indeed, amid wind and waves and lips of sand and seafoam, to your amazement, you spot Mr. and Mrs. T.—he below, she above, in an un-even wishbone configuration. They flow from a waterfall beneath a sandstone funeral urn held by a hand pouring ashes upon the waters. Can the dust of ashes be an elixir of transformation, the generations issuing from the loins of a luz bone? Incredulous, you recall a dream in which you hear someone declare, “The ashes love you.”

Eye of the Fish

Then, you see yourself, a child on a summer shore standing knee-high in water being greeted by a leaping dog. You recall the name given to this dog by beachgoers: Yogi. The entire scene appears to be taking place in the head of a dusky grouper, an endangered quarry bottom-dweller of warm waters with a preference for underwater caves. A large fish eye glistens with light from a sun beyond the picture frame. In Spanish your father would sing, “Mero, mero.” You lean toward your own face, ghostly gray, a mere smoky wisp. What do they say when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a dream? What is it doing here? Your remembrance of there and then? A miniature formed from a sunbeam in water, towering storm clouds gathering behind you in the shortening distance. This image, a memory surging into being with an elusive life of its own, turning back from the past to regard you, standing in your own tenuous future. 

María DeGuzmán is a scholar, writer, conceptual photographer, and music composer. Her photographic work has been exhibited at The Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA, USA), Watershed Media Centre (Bristol, England), and Golden Belt Studios (Durham, NC, USA). She has published photography, photo-text, and text-only genres in numerous journals.