A WOMAN’S JEWELRY
The woman in line at the coffee shop
wears a shark-tooth earring. Its jagged leaf
hooks back and forth on an inch of chain,
sharpness aimed away from her chopped
hair and acne-scarred face. It’s the right
place to touch her. I reach for its pendulum
dangling there, ask after its petrified origins.
It’s a tangible beginning, her leaning her ear
toward me. In this jeweled splurge,
I sense the beginning I’ve found with every lover.
The black-beaded choker dangling threads
of malachite over the stammer of raised veins.
The loose fitting ring when the setting turns
and a small amethyst eye gazes from her palm.
She tells a lie and her hand reaches for the lapis
bracelet, which she twists until the clasp is there,
fingernail snapping the release. Her tongue
drawing its barbell ring along my thigh,
hot bead flicking its own course at the light.
The intricate battle of the bent ear-wire catching
on my sweater, its stainless steel holds her head
to my chest, though we’ve finished kissing.
Her moonstone brooch clear and cloudy,
at once a way in or a way out.
—from Rattle #20, Winter 2003