a Journal of Poetry and the Arts
Shadow and Light: The Transitory
I Went Through a Box of Her Jewelry
I saw Emily all over again
when I went through the jewelry she made out of shells.
When I picked up a Frilled California Venus Shell and a Milky Venus Shell
that lay together
on a metal setting without a clasp, a note beside them marked "next";
and when I picked up a fragmented letter with a dedication
to someone named Clair; and when I held a False Angel Wing Shell wrapped
in linen cloth, held it alone just to feel the weight
and smoothness of it in my hand--it was like
being there again with her
when we worked or made love after one of our walks. I could smell
her secretions in the room again, and I felt suddenly alert,
missing her presence.
The illness she had
like so much spit. I didn't know and still don't what there is
to know about it. Even now, after eight years,
all of my theories, everything I name
becomes a synonym for some other complexity
or perplexity. Both. That's all my skidding emotion conclusions approximate.
In that illness--what I saw--the raw gets left open, can't be
left open enough. Something took her over.
Most wouldn't even recognize the place,
or I'm surprised how many have to recognize it or
some place like it, without recourse.
It didn't occur to me if I would, I didn't think about it, it was worn out between us
for seven years, but I miss her terribly. In the lane of dirt beside
the garage wall, she planted her garden.
Her unwrapped Cyclamen's pure purple or red cloth always opened
some libidinal gland riding my nerves.
Her liquefying Dutch-Broom yellow and her hot labial-colored Astromaria's pink
did the same thing. I never saw them before with someone
who could name them, plant and know them, and know
how to care for them, without killing them. A pleasure to sit there,
my eyes holding it in. With her gone--all of those colors are faded
in that part of me
Everything exactly drilled, carefully fitted. Difficult to handle
such tiny screw anchors. And every anchor attached in strategically
crafted positions for the way
the piece should tilt, and hold.
I know little about the worth of her jewelry. I mean,
I don't know their fashion. Fashion always
made me sick. All fashion. I went through a box of jewelry
Emily made--mounted vaginal folds vital color inexact securely fixed
braided ornaments from the sea, from her hands.