Monday, January 1, 2007

The Things He Gave Her

First his letters, burned in the driveway.
The ripped photos she threw in the kitchen garbage,
followed by wilted salad, blobs of cheese.
The books, with their inscriptions (“love always”)
went to Secondhand Words, clothes to Good Will,
even the gold silk blouse, even the teddy.
Items fell from her like so much ballast.
Her hair was brushing the lintels of doorways.
Only the weight of her shoes held her feet to the floor.
She dug the rosebush (innocent live thing),
dumped the tangle of root and thorn at the curb.
Even (who would have thought) the salad tongs.
As the gold chain slipped from her neck,
the last strand of tether snapped.
It flew, 22 karat airborne brilliance.
It plopped into the lake in sinuous ripples.
And she floated into the crowns of trees,
surrounded by wobbling green leaves.
Startled birds exploded off the wire,
a shimmer of feathers around her head.

Cheryl Gatling

published in Gingko Tree Review

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