Vox Populi

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Alison Luterman: At the Jeweler’s Tent

The little bandy-legged jeweler

with his wandering pale-blue eye

has just come back from Indonesia,

where he slept on the beach and bargained for fire opals.

He wants to sell me a slice of carnelian, set in silver,

warm as a rust-red autumn leaf.

“It frees self-expression; makes you magnetic.”

Gorgeous bullshit. But I sink my hands

up to the wrist in his tray,

where precious and semi-precious alike

are spilled like bright candies.

There’s the soft clink of amber against aquamarine,

lustrious glint of sky and flame

pick-axed out of deep earth. I can’t afford

anything here, I’m just rummaging,

embarrassed by this late-life

lust for shine. As if I could slap down a credit card

and buy back my youth,

or at least one last ruby sunset

to drape round my throat.

I hold a string of amethysts up to my collarbone.

There are wrinkles on my neck now,

rings of crinkled flesh like tree-markings,

one for each lived year. As for the rest, down below…

well, that’s the thing. And here is the heart

that wants the thing, the heart confounded

by what it can’t keep or let go–

insistent, persistent, flawed old heart,

yearning and pulsing, same as always.

Copyright 2020 Alison Luterman. From In the Time of Great Fires by Alison Luterman (Catamaran 2020).

Alison Luterman is a poet, essayist and playwright. She lives in Oakland, California.

Alison Luterman

6 comments on “Alison Luterman: At the Jeweler’s Tent

  1. Kay
    May 1, 2022

    “…flawed old heart….” I love the poem, and you proved me wrong. Perhaps poems about growing older are not excluded out of hand. Great!


  2. Lisa Zimmerman
    April 17, 2022


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    April 13, 2022

    Makes me want to go find my carnelian and amber, but then I’ve been isolated forever and if I do get out. Why would I call attention to that older me in the mirror?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sean Sexton
    April 13, 2022

    So fine a poem!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      April 13, 2022

      I agree! I love Alison’s poems. Michael Simms Publisher/Vox Populi Founder/Autumn House Press Author/Nightjar Author/American Ash

      Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2022 by in Health and Nutrition, Most Popular, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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