Best of the Net 2008  

The Amber Brooch

It's true that there are tears in things--
    for instance, the brooch I bring

back from Kraków, which pricks
    my fingertip the first time that I fix

it to my shirt.
    And later, when I touch the clasp, my finger hurts

again. Some pains return.
    Some tears turn

sepia with age, stubborn as the Baltic
    or the resin dragonfly, an insect

that summons flight
    in the very shape of its body. It lights

on my collar as if to wait
    for breezes near the shore and hesitates,

the way I do, each time my hand remembers reaching
    past garnets red as bee stings

to sort through amber at the vendor's booth.
    In Poland, I held the proof

that there's an elegy in every hammered hinge and catch,
    the lacy filigree, the closure that latches

like an entrance
    to a tiny room, beauty and balance

sharpened to a point, the silver pin,
    which leaves a spot of blood where it has been.

-Jehanne Dubrow (Mezzo Cammin)