Began with a river rock,
fit nicely in his pocket,
its weight reassuring,
discovered hematite
put them in his coffee,
dared himself to choke
let them click on his teeth
imagined himself a spy
on a hotel balcony in paris
Found amethysts at an estate sale
reminded him of easter
he put them in shirt pockets
a kindly grandfather
passing them to wide-eyed youngsters
bouncing on sore and gentle knees
agates, thickly veined
volcanic tree-rings
sat them on yellowed pages
paper weights in the
mausoleum stillness of private libraries
Tucked a small pearl
into the hollow of his cheek
they added gravity to his speech
kept him from noticing the terrible thirst
pyrite abraded his ankle
blister-tight rolled in his sock,
the discomfort a substitute pain
didn’t notice the first trickle
glacier slow,
viscous amber stillness

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