Provenance (a Poem)


The monsters are winning battles.

We’re taxing the poor to feed the rich,
Nazareth cancelled Christmas,
What we’ve done to Jerusalem is so bleak,
No birth or rebirth can be imagined.

But still I hope, and for very good reason.

The necklace that arrived for me today, with a card wishing me, “Happy everything!”
Holds a modest purple flower of abundance,
A forget-me-not framed in the white lace of peace,
A lace of unabashed, paper-thin bravery.

Made in Poland, where they’ve known joy in the wake of crushing sorrow,
It comes from my sister—my witness;
She sees, still, the horrors of our family unfolding.

But, also, we experience together,
Nature, emerging in easeful defiance
From the decay.

Grass wends its way through concrete,
Lilies of the field neither toil nor spin;
We gasp at Rumi’s angels, one for every green sprout,
Whispering, “Grow, grow.”

There is one such angel near this necklace.

It’s a necklace my daughter can wear,
When the lines of life’s hurts and joys have re-cast her face;
She will caress its smooth center and strong edges and say,
“Thank you. This belonged to my mother,”
In a world that’s held itself together enough to care about necklaces,
And their provenance.

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