Blackened Pearls

Originally published in Catch Up With Summer, a collection from 2015.

Blackened Pearls

Pour boiling water over the ice cubes and
they will disappear immediately.
You can count on it. If only I could
make the memories do the same. Laughter
echoes up the stairwell. The stone steps
bounce the sound in a most efficient way.
The woman sitting next to the window
left when I was not looking. She sat
in that chair for ten minutes and
now she is gone. The laughter continues from
downstairs. It’s an unpleasant sound
to listen to. The lawn outside the window
is substantial and is mowed in diagonal stripes.
I see no one outside. The day is too hot.
Voices funnel up the stairwell, rise and explode,
fade away. Fireworks for conversation.
Good-byes are said. Water thrown on the sparks.
It was time for it to be over. I concentrate on the
calm celery color of the walls in this room.
Updated institutional paint. I wish the memories
could be painted over.

"Dubious Memories" - mixed media, 2012 (?)

“Dubious Memories” – mixed media, 2012 (?)

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17 thoughts on “Blackened Pearls

  1. Thank you. I wrote this in the college library while listening to sounds from the floor below, while at the same time some old memories that had been revived earlier that day, not pleasantly, were also in my mind. Writing this helped me, I remember, and it all came out just as it is here, I made really no changes to it. A strange experience.

  2. Thank you. I also hope not, and I think writing this poem or things like it is one of the ways for it not to happen – I remember when I wrote it, I was in the library in that environment and paying attention to things around me while some old memories, brought back by something earlier in the day, were hanging over me. Somehow writing this poem helped me and I got myself back to everyday and ordinary. Really it was an odd experience and made me realize I have ways to make peace with things and go on a bit more happily.

  3. What a beautifully evocative poem. I think you really capture the sense of so much of life being transitory, all those fleeting moments and snippets of life and the memories that fade and all but disappear but then – on the other hand – there are those resilient memories, including the ones we wish we could erase, that remain steadfast and resist the passage of time.

  4. Oh, I know so well the distractions of small children! It is something that you never forget (my son is 28 and I have not!) I appreciate it that you spend some of your limited time on my work, thank you.

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