Ode to Turquoise
I always forget what that rock is supposed to mean
Blue shock like a bit of ocean lost in the desert
Desert as in once a mountain of rock shaved down
By hundred year storms, dying species, erosive heat
Deserts with their secrets
Bones, cactus fruit, shivery lizards
Even bolts of river that they weep up unexpectedly
Like when your own bodily flood
Seeps down the back of your throat
And you taste it. Part salt. Part sweet.
And what rock is that from?
In the middle of the night
In the middle of a divorce – what treachery –
I hauled heaps of my belongings
To the doors of a church. I left them there and
In one box, my mother’s turquoise jewelry
Thick heavy 1970’s silver flaked with greening blue –
Who can carry everything from one life through to another?
And oh, how she loved those earrings, that necklace
She should have been buried in those charms
Emblems of her desire to see Arizona
To tie a knot with some clipped bloodline.
To meet, she imagined, a wilderness
Of Native Americans hammering out bits of sky
Until chips shuddered down from clouds
And lumped like that in the sand.
How I knelt, lost and lost like a wave
Frozen in its dictated motion
How I held out the little box to the night air
There was a desert in that box
A willful dust, so I laid it down in a bed of grass
At the feet of a stone faced Hail Mary
Susan Brennan is the author of numinous (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Drunken Oasis (Rattapallax Press, 2011). She curated poetry programming at Wilco’s Solid Sound Music Festival at MASS MoCA, and is staging her poem about George Seurat’s last days. She has written film scripts, a 1 million hit plus award winning web-series and pitched film stories, premiering at Venice and Tribeca Film Festivals. See what she’s up to at www.tinycubesofice.com.
This poem is not previously published. In fact, it was written expressly for The HIV Here & Now Project. Thank you, Susan.