Two Stones

In summer, even before all the dying, she was stricken with fear
and grief. Already they were like twin stones she carried in her mouth.
She was careful not to swallow them whole, also careful not to show  
so much of their bulge through each cheek. Out in the world, so much 
heat and light; so many people thronging to orchards to sample the tastes 
of fruit unburied from dark barrels of oak—how they swirled in the bottoms 
of tulip-shaped glasses, how they sent up strings of tiny beads reminding
one of weddings and cake. But in her mouth, those two stones shifted 
from one side to the other— each smaller than a grape, but denser  
than marble or a seed. Sometimes they pulsed like a heart, or quieted
like boats tethered to a dock. She wondered what would happen
if she spat them out into her hand, if she washed them with water
and laid them on an altar to be blessed. After all, one can make
an offering out of anything.

A space might open up enough to admit other shapes.

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