Amontillado

Began with a river rock,
fit nicely in his pocket,
unpolished
its weight reassuring,
constant
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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