Lover, sit down -
I want to show you something.
Please hold this box and feel the smooth, polished mahogany
in your hands, the inlay of seashell and bone.
Now open it and observe
the velvet trays where I keep
my most treasured traumas.
I’ll lift a few for you to admire.
First, let’s look at this one because it is beautifully wrought
with the time my husband threw a can of soup at me
and thank the gods it only hit me on the arm -
imagine if it was my face!
It ripped a gash
and I probably should have gotten stitches but I couldn’t afford that at the time
so I just held it closed.
It was a can of soup I’d bought for him because he was sick.
Well he wasn’t sick, he was detoxing
and I wanted to make him better.
Next, admire the carving on the one
where I sat outside the house and couldn’t bear to go inside
but was so tired the tears would not come.
Or look at this one! It is very tender -
it’s the time I reached out for my newborn baby -
the most beautiful thing I had ever seen
and I wanted to touch her
but the doctor said no, not yet, we have to stitch you up
and took her away from me for hours
I don’t know
while my breasts grew cold and the baby cried in another room.
She didn’t know yet that she cried for me because she didn’t know me yet.
Let’s close it now.
I’ll show you many more.
I wear them often.