What You Love and What Keeps You

This winter, you lift strands
of beads out of boxes in the drawer:

coral and agate, rice pearl, tiny yellow
and green bits of glass threaded through

with horsehair. And there is silver
hammered into links or coaxed soft into

a lizard's tail to wrap around a ring
finger. Who wouldn't fall in love 

with cunning stitches on a dark
ground: their subtleties of red and gold,

their mirroring of glistening fields
or ridges scalloping the river;

their crossed threads gathered in a knot
or compass rose at the center. These

might not be the kinds of riches to lock
in a vault— Such small remembrances 

you thought you'd take with you, 
each time you came back from looking 

over an edge and didn't fall, or fall
all the way through. You want to start

putting them in the hands of those 
who might understand what they meant 

to someone who can't undo a life 
now settling into a sort of shape— 

Memory a vessel that could possibly 
drift by itself in the current: not yet 

so far out, only wondering what 
comes after; still enamored by light 

outlining trees at dusk, this world's 
yet untasted sweets, its anchors.   


    

  

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