Seventeen Jewels

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Poetry, Uncategorized

Pulled from the wreckage of a dead man’s life,
two bronze legs sit impaled on a circular disk, dull metal limbs that
suspend a glass orb ringed by a brass shawl.
Roman numerals edge his face, his arms are trapped at two minutes
past eight o’clock; morning or night, he will not tell you.
A black mark on his forehead, could be eyes and nose and mouth,
could be dragonfly or four blotches, mistakes left hasty.
His back is clear, deceiving and peppered with motes of embedded
dust particles, a shield to workers on strike: they don’t move.
Amidst those gears that would grind imperceptibly into operation
lay the inset of seventeen flecks of a precious ruby,
cracked stone split and fashioned into
a distiller of friction.
Imagining Uncle Fred leaning closer to inspect the glass, tapping
experimentally upon it. His back straining against metal,
trapped in his chair, mind still free to wonder
who had constructed such an object,
name erased by time. His eyes
catch the dull pink glaze
set into the gears.
Wondering, was it broken when he had it, fleamarket purchase or
old family heirloom, his elegant face frozen proud
by the passage of frigid years, clockwork eased
to a halt by a lack of proper cleaning and real
maintenance deserved by such a
magnificent treasure.
One day, maybe too soon for me to know,
someone else will be combing
through the objects that I have left behind,
and they will find the small brass tower and
they will wonder these same questions,
their eyes roaming over the metal inscription
proclaiming “17 JEWELS”.

  1. carole cromwell paddock says:

    This touched me deeply. Freddie was such a treasure. He would have loved this. I can hear his Oscar Wilde whine,”Lukiiiiaannn, thnaks son.

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