The Keepsake by Kelly Sargent

You kept a rusty Bugs Bunny tin of marbles in our bedroom

on the shelf you thought I couldn’t reach

because you dreamt they might be worth something


Someday. 


I found one under your bed this morning when I was clearing out Mom’s house

and your side of the room exactly as you had left it.


An abandoned, cerulean-blue

glassy cat’s eye stared at me

lifelessly


from the dark corner of the rectangular outline —

darker than the rest of the Brazilian cherry wood floor —

that the sun had never touched.

 

I reached for it.


Cool — almost chilled — it was, by the absence of life-giving rays.

Smooth, in its betraying lack of indentations. 

It was weightier than I had expected. 


My fingertips caressed it, gently at first;

then with increasing pressure, earnestly hoping to infuse it with life.

I wanted it to see me

and be happy to be found.


But it didn’t know that it had been lost

and could not find joy in the moment. 


Like you.

With the cerulean, glassy stare you gave me when I found you

in your bed

when you were 16. 

You didn’t know that one to match lay on the wooden floor beneath you. 


I recalled the time that I spilled your collection

and how the clatter roused you from a lazy Sunday nap. 

I froze in place and shivered, anticipating your ire.


You considered me with cerulean compassion,

a golden lock matted against your forehead. 

And you laughed silver strands of grace at me. 


I didn’t know the last time I laughed with you 

would be the last time I laughed with you,

until it was.


I nestled the marble in my palm

and put it in my pocket.


It was worth something. 




 *Previously published in The Purple Nail*

Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Pexels.com

About the Poet:

Kelly Sargent’s poems and artwork in 2021, including a current Best of the Net nominee, appeared or are forthcoming in nearly two dozen literary publications. Her poetry chapbook entitled Seeing Voices: Poetry in Motion is also forthcoming (Kelsay Books, 2022). She serves as Creative Nonfiction Editor of The Bookends Review and an assistant nonfiction editor for Newfound. She also reviews for an organization dedicated to making visible the artistic expression of sexual violence survivors. 

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