Following on from yesterday’s post, here are some more precious objects, but this time very personal love tokens, which take on a special significance to the receiver and become small treasures which bring comfort in dark times of loss and fear.
There is Only One Now
He’d fashioned two love tokens
and placed them by the bed before he left.
I saw the gleam reflected in those fireballs
as I turned to the morning light, four
tiny globes on the table. I stretched out
to stroke the mercurial forms suspended
on silver lace bobbins, lifting the finials
to my tongue, rotating them gently
in my mouth, lips encasing, caressing
their compressed Jurassic warmth.
Then held the crook, letting them swing,
their slight comforting, consoling.
The combined weight was a gentle pull
on my lobes, the swing reassuring.
I noticed the inky refractions
whenever I lay them in my palms.
In summer the globes swung untrammelled
on their finialled shafts. In cold weather
and muffled against the numbing cold
of a rural parish church concert
I left with shoulders hunched, shuffling
through the congregation to the welcome
night crunch of gravel and smell of privet.
Unmuffling later I searched in vain
for the slight my one lobe missed.
Years later I roll the one remaining jet
in my hand and let my lips close again
over dark warmth and cool silver before
once more replacing it in the typesetter’s
shelves alongside other singles.
He chose me in secret
hoping to please;
To sit in the hollow of her throat,
warm black against the pearl.
When he is not near
her fingers stray
caressing me, drawing comfort
from the smoothness of my skin.
Once a chunk of Whitby jet –
I’ve become her amulet.
first published in Dandelions for Mothers’ Day (Stride 1988)