Sunday, May 22, 2016


Anonymous sweetheart locket, date and photographer
unknown, via Pinterest and eBay

In a thrift shop, I rummage through small bins heaped
with pretend treasure—fake gold, real silver, lacquered
brass, rhinestones, cheap cloisonnĂ©. I wonder who’d
worn those objects, who tossed them away; where did
the lost stories go, tales of an evening out on the town
with this brooch, that matched cocktail ring? And then,
a find. I fumble with the friction catch, trying it, failing
to shim my thumbnail between two halves, worrying it
until it pops open. I fumble with the crystal protecting
two faded photographs, a young man in a uniform and
a young woman. I close the locket, and they kiss; using
the thin nail of my index finger, I can reopen the locket,
separate them. Such casual sundering from a stranger.
In this vermeil pendant not much larger than a cherry,
something for O. Henry or for Chekhov, a keepsake no
more: no one’s left alive who remembers them, who’ll
tell their stories, keep those stories close to the heart.

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