Jewelry Box

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.


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