MarsBracelet (3)
Illumination
by Betsy Mars

Without a safety catch, the bracelet
slipped silently off my wrist and fell
forgotten in a rush of wrapping and ribbon,
scissors and tape, folding neat corners.

Caught up in my internal world
I didn’t notice the glint was gone —
soft impressionable gold, snaked with amethysts —
a gift from my grandfather.

We’d butted heads many times —
he, a true Taurus all his life,
and me, bearing water, but failing
to make a splash.

And yet he loved me in his bullish way —
painting me pictures from postcards
which I sent from a safe distance —
and presented me his hidden beauty.

Another birthday, more rummaging for ribbons.
A cold hardness gives way to joy,
as I raise the gleaming circle
into the noonday light.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo combines the painting my grandfather created from a postcard I sent from Venice with a picture of the two of us from around the time described in the poem, enclosed by the lost and found bracelet described herein.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Being sort of easily distracted generally, I have unfortunately lost many things of value throughout my life. I tend to be philosophical and assume that my loss is someone else’s gain, but in this case, the bracelet in the poem was a present I cherished from my grandfather — a man with whom I had a difficult relationship. He was brilliant, creative, and ultimately good at heart, but his expectations, judgment, and stubbornness were alien to me. I realize now that he loved me and went out of his way to show me in more concrete ways. He was a complex man I wish I had known better, and I was elated when I found the lost bracelet at the bottom of a grocery bag filled with gift wrapping scraps a year or two after it mysteriously disappeared. I have since acquired a safety chain for it, and only wear it on rare outings.

Mars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a writer, mother, animal lover, educator who has an insatiable desire for travel. Her work has been published in several anthologies, by Silver Birch Press, in the California Quarterly Journal, Cadence Collective, and Gnarled Oak. Her writing is a way to understanding her past and integrating all of her previous selves in order to discover who she is today.

Photo of the author by Stephen Howarth.