The Jewelry Box

The daughter takes a husband.
The ring loops her finger like a ribbon
tied there so not to forget. In the meadow
a cadence of vows and a braying mule.
Gull shadows printed on sandstone.
In a photograph the daughter looks back
towards the cove.

The mother is seated on the corner of a bed.
Across the room in the jewelry box
an altered ring, filigree and set with a sapphire,
a lima bean necklace and
the scalloped earrings she would set
on the table. The freshwater pearls.
A woman's things.
Through the window
an arbor of high desert clouds
settles on the valley.

Where the walls are conceived
by the surface of morning
light scatters like bees
through the leaves and limbs
of holly and liquidambar.
Beneath the floorboards
a tumbleweed from Cobalt Canyon
garden dust and mouldering flowers.
Box nails doubled over and discarded.
The stone from an infertile peach.

The daughter's husband leaves.
The rip tide confiscates the ring.
Nettles hang to dry in the shed.
She sells her belongings.
Outside the circumference of dread
the daughter is held by the mother.
Blood treasures pass into their new domain.

Poems by John Waldman:

The Water Month
The Heat
Of Madrid
The Lake on the Border
The Woman in the Hat
The Jewelry Box
The Corner
Huber's Tavern
The House in the Town
From the Home of Furious Wonder
From What Is Left Behind
The Den of Finitude
The Story of a Mountain

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets