by Betty Adcock
Begin with a box. Imagine it made
of ordinary and exotic woods:
yellow pine and rosewood, mahogany
and oak, hickory and ebony,
mixed every which way: mosaics,
shape-shifting inlays. It can expand
to hold a sunset, a whole landscape.
Or shrink to the size of a seashell,
to the size of a small bell’s sound.
Not all keepsakes can be held
in trunks or drawers or albums.
The blue-eyed grass you used to bring in from your run,
each slender spear tipped with a flash of sky.
The indigo bunting that lit the wild plum trees
one by one ahead of us along the hiking trail.
Your silver flute ribboning through our house
Debussy changing to Miles Davis recreating blues.
The great blue heron that haunted our little pond,
lifting from the deck like a widening fan.
Cycladic cobalt evenings scattering
stars and poppies on the shawl of dark.
And the Aegean blue that followed us
everywhere, its shallows clear as soft-tinted glass.
The stones beneath that blue sea’s edge
polished by waves and visible, auroral.
Outsized blue moon we saw in Abilene.
the street in Dallas where we kissed in rain.
Blue-white scent of gardenias you sent to me
in the blank desert place I didn’t want to be.
Jazz Under the Stars in Central Park.
Dizzy at Birdland in blue-clouded air.
We painted the nursery robin egg’s blue, and hung
yellow curtains. We brought our daughter home.
This pliant ark holds everything. I’ll open it
again and again to the other time I cannot lose,
to other colors, other stories
of hours and days and years we had –
so many and so close.
– for Don 1925-2011