APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'String of Pearls' by Mary Jo Salter

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'String of Pearls' by Mary Jo Salter

From Mary Jo Salter's Nothing by Design, a book in which the search for peace and understanding - both personal and public - is bracing, sometimes sobering, yet essentially uplifting because the journey toward truth is an expansion made possible by the poems themselves.

String of Pearls
 
The pearls my mother gave me as a bride
rotted inside.
Well, not the pearls, but the string.
One day I was putting
them on, about thirty years on,
and they rattled onto the floor, one by one . . .
I'm still not sure I found them all.
 
As it happened, I kept a white seashell
on my vanity table. It could serve as a cup
where, after I'd scooped the lost pearls up,
I'd save them, a many-sister 
haven in one oyster.
A female's born with all her eggs,
unfolds her legs,
 
then does her dance, is lovely, is the past -
is old news as the last
crinkle-foil-wrapped sweet
in the grass of the Easter basket.
True? Who was I? Had I unfairly classed
myself as a has-been? In the cloister
of the ovary, when
 
released by an extra dose of estrogen,
my chances for love dwindled, one by one.
But am I done?


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Excerpt from Nothing By Design © 2013 by Mary Jo Salter. Excerpted by permission Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, LLC, New York.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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