A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
In my life I’ve gathered maybe five perfect rocks. It isn’t that they were smooth or handsomely speckled with rare minerals. No, they were often misshapen, pitted, easily forgettable. The first I’d kicked the entire way home from school when I was a child. In my pocket it became a charm, the imagined shatterer of plate glass, ammunition for the slingshot I never owned. Another was yellow and spotted like a cheetah. I cut my finger on the third’s sharp edge; it seemed to absorb my blood in its iron tint. The fourth was a the pebble I kept beneath my tongue so I wouldn’t succumb to the temptation to kiss just anyone. I found the fifth stone at the shore, marbleized, the size of my fist, the shape not of a valentine but of an animal heart, and seemingly chambered. I kept it in the car with me for a long time until the woman I slept beside asked why I kept it. What could I say about the geology of ardor? Only how heavy the chest is, how even now, when I swim far from shore there’s the risk of going under, to settle into the sand, into the mineral earth, the water nothing but brilliant ripples, buoy bells tolling.