Who did you say your great grandfather was ?
There was a piece of jewel I remember from childhood
three diamonds on your nose, where have you kept them ?
When did you last wear the diamonds – for your sister’s wedding ?
I look at your photo from those days, the rustle of silk,
smell of perfume, jasmines that frame you to a time dead.
Your mother breathed hard as she drew water from the well
she lost her diamonds while having her bath, flushed into furrow
leading to the garden, in the slush of mud it lay there
the three stars you inherited I search in the morass of memory
look up to ask you about them: about the sister who threw away her life,
brother who sunk into darkness. All those years you asked me to wear them
now that you are married wear the diamonds you told me
now you are a mother wear the diamonds you told me.
Now I want to wear your diamonds, ask you about them.
Written to prompt from Rachel McKibbens – "Write the conversation you should have had. A conversation that, for whatever reason, is impossible to have now…"
… And that’s the photograph of my mother with my brother. Do you see the diamonds on her nose? I should have asked her about them, it is impossible now …