The Necklace

It was coiled and glowing in a single ray
of light, speaking of treasure maps

and I am there when she gives it to you,
the thin gold filigree weaving delicate

through coral one after another, jostling
into the tender skin of your palm

cupped like a boat that had sailed too far
to be retrieved by a golden hook

that cut into the bark of heart and home
but landed somewhere between reality

and the wound that never heals:
“I’m leaving it with you,” I hear her say

to you. And you look at it like the sum
of all mysteries and said to her, to me,

“Where will you go? Can’t you stay?”
and I said, she said, “It’s no more use to me,

maybe for you,” and you tore the coral off
your neck and your hands bled for a season

and a day, until you drew its poison out
of your body and praised the Light that stayed.

Image credit: Amrita Sher-Gil, "The Little Girl in Blue" (detail; 1934).
Merril at dVerse asks us to "write about a historical artifact…You may write about any object—a family heirloom, a museum piece, a monument, or a palace. The choice is yours, but there must be some link to history and the past. You can write in any form or free verse."

29 thoughts on “The Necklace

  1. Ain Starlingsson, forestbathing hermit

    This poem just grows, line by line, into an exotic mystical adventure…the wound that never heals..drawing the poison out……well…as a reader this adventure is what I really enjoy, I think it’s the best poem if yours, and one of the very best I have read since I arrived at dverse, really like the denouement and style.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A magical, mysterious poem. I love the way it flows.

    It’s very different, of course, but your opening made me made me think of the necklace that I wore when I got married. My mom gave it to me, and then my niece wore it when she got married, and my children.


  3. fireblossom32

    This is mysterious and poignant. I read it three times trying to plumb its meaning, but what I am left with is simply a chain (if you will) of emotions: wonder, trepidation, melancholy and some kind of acceptance and peace in the end. It’s lovely. Some things, we know, don;t need to be over-explained–they are what they are and that is satisfying by itself.

    A new word list is up. You, of course, have a standing invitation if you have a moment this week. 🙂


  4. Glenn A. Buttkus

    Like Shay, I read it several times, clinging to those words and images I could recognize, and marveling at those I couldn’t. Macabre & mythical, she/her hides behind a mysterious mantle, and the necklace becomes the stuff of Mythos.


  5. First I love how you talked about a necklace… there is often so much symbolism in jewelry. I might be wrong but the image I have is three generations of women, with the grandmother giving a necklace that might have grown to a burden for her to her granddaughter… I really loved this.


  6. For some reason, perhaps the underlying currents of emotion, this reminds me of the Mary Oliver line about the box of darkness given also being a gift. Love is complex, confusing, but even when time and circumstance transmute it, is never lost utterly, or without its effect, and that is what I feel here. I loved this line especially: “..cupped like a boat that had sailed too far/to be retrieved by a golden hook..”


  7. If I interpret this right this is a someone giving valuable away and that person is soon going to depart this world…puts the necklace and life and eternity and the “Light” in perspective!


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