Someone is warming her jewelry: the jade pendant from China, the Southern Cross circumscribed by an African continent dangling on a slender gold necklace I gave her when I returned so many years ago. And her wedding ring set with her own and Aunt Tet’s diamonds, plus the 3-point diamond chips for every five of my father’s forty years with the phone company. Someone has her 3×5 Christmas cookie recipe cards, stained, containing marginalia, “bad batch – the Divinity was not divine – 1969.”
Some shade found these things, in my purse, in the back of the cab, where I left it in the darkness. I railed at the gods; I was the rightful owner. But I find I am mistaken about so many things. Though she closed my hands around her jewels when she took them off one last time, I was not yet ready. I thought for wearing. Turns out, for losing. So soon. Not yet, in the ground one week.
Visions of her necklace circumnavigating my country, her ring surrounding my island. Reflected in the mirror, our self portrait. One I thought was mine. Erased by the shifting tide of circumstance. I cannot even make her cookies.
No longer knowing what remains, I do know this: whoever wrote “ashes to ashes” was in on the heist.
This prose poem was written in response to a prompt on Andrew Shattuck McBride’s writer’s blog. Thank you, Andrew, for providing the space for this to bubble up.