Like a Pebble, It Was Gone
by Cristina M. R. Norcross
The vacuum cleaner hummed,
picking up cat hair
from my two tabbies –
and anything else
my eyes could not see.
Dents in the futon frame –
evidence of my
dancing while cleaning
When the music of the motor stopped,
I looked down
at my grandmother’s ring –
empty of its Carnelian stone.
All was frozen –
dust hanging in the soft, sunlit air –
while I crawled on my hands and knees,
hoping to find the clear burgundy, half-moon shape.
My seeking hand found the missing jewel,
only to realize that the popping out
was much easier than the popping back in.
I brought the stone and base to
a jeweler in the Ottawa Market.
(This was in college, so my wallet was light
and my hope was endless.)
I think the jeweler saw my hope and took pity.
We exchanged two days of me working
at his outdoor stall on Sparks Street,
for him skillfully cutting and shaping a new stone
and filling the back with liquid silver.
Nothing meant more than preserving
what had been entrusted to me –
the place where my grandmother’s fingers
once held a book –
the memory of rings and bracelets
on a cream lace dresser top –
the song of her bangles
when they chimed in unison.
An ornate jewelry box, opened wide,
she would share her treasures,
while telling the story behind each piece.
New bridge, new silver,
a sculpted, new stone –
this ring now has my imprint
and the shadow of my next generation fingers.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My grandmother’s antique Carnelian stone ring – transformed with love in Ottawa, Canada (in 1994), to withstand future decades of vacuuming.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write about my grandparents, on both sides of the family, quite often. It is my way of connecting to a time when they were still here. Perhaps, it is my writer’s version of sitting down to hear their stories over a cup of tea. When I lost the original stone to this ring, I panicked. Restoring the ring, by having a jewelry artist cut and shape a new stone, then rebuild the base around it, meant that I was able to somehow honor my grandmother’s memory. Working for the jeweler, to pay for his services, allowed me to tell him many, many stories about my grandmother. (He didn’t actually have a choice, of course.) Hence, my future vocation as a storyteller. She lives on in my words – she always will.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cristina M. R. Norcross is the author of seven poetry collections. Her most recent books include Amnesia and Awakenings (Local Gems Press, 2016) and Still Life Stories (Aldrich Press, 2016). Her works have been published, or are forthcoming, in The Toronto Quarterly, Your Daily Poem, Lime Hawk, The Poetry Storehouse, Right Hand Pointing, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Cristina’s work also appears in numerous anthologies. She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition and a finalist in the 2015 Five Oaks Press Chapbook Contest. Cristina is the founding editor of the online poetry journal Blue Heron Review. She is the co-founder of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day and a contributing artist to The Art Ambush Project. Connect with this poet on Twitter @firkinfiction or find out more about her work at cristinanorcross.com.