Bequest

The last time I visited, you took
from the folds of your purse, from a knotted-

up square of linen your earrings, your ring,
your necklace with thin hammered links. You poured

these into my hands, saying only Take them,
take them, wear them when you teach, when you

go to do battle with the day. The pearl on the ring
glowed bluish silver, like the eye of a god

that knows more than we do but keeps it all
to himself. Tiny crystal chips trace the edge

of each hoop I’ll fix on my ears: they’ll remind
me of you, remind me of me when I forget

the grammar of my name. I rush disheveled
through stairwells and doors, drinking

my coffee on the run. I snag my sweaters
on the afternoon’s light. When bees stumble

back to cluster in the hive and leaves
ring down on the pond, I’ll give each stone

that glistens with rain your name. I’ll teach
myself to grow still in the cloth of my skin.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Taking attendance.

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