Barren Stones – a sestina by Christopher M. Edwards

Barren Stones


You found a piece of turquoise, 
when you wandered incessantly 
through the dust, the dust falling, 
the scrub, in New Mexico. On porcelain, 
you found the piece, in a store next to a leafless 
tree, and you held the cold stone. 

It seemed more than a stone, 
engraved with images of deeper turquoise, 
primitive, and yet elegantly leafless, 
plants and grains sprouted incessantly
across its surface, a surface as smooth as porcelain. 
Looking at it, one almost felt one was falling. 

And you sometimes held it, falling, 
deeper and deeper into the stone, 
sitting there in the bathroom’s porcelain, 
alone, looking at your piece of turquoise. 
Always looking, looking incessantly, 
at the shapes, though they were all leafless. 

They were not even trees, being leafless
didn’t matter, but you, you, you were falling 
like it was something you had to do incessantly;
when falling, you were falling into the stone.  
Little by little, parts of you were becoming turquoise. 
After dinner, you would put away the porcelain, 

and then sit there at the table, as still as porcelain, 
you sat for so long the trees became leafless 
outside, and the roads became an icy turquoise; 
no one left their homes for fear of falling. 
But we didn’t worry about you, you were stone. 
How someone can do stillness incessantly,

I don’t know. We talked to you, though, incessantly; 
in the hopes that you’d wake up, we even broke some porcelain. 
You didn’t. Moment by moment, you became stone, 
looking into the design of leafless 
trees, where children climbed without falling,
and smiled at you in bright, beaming turquoise, 

above a stone, a tree that’s leafless 
they climb incessantly, without any porcelain, 
without any falling, climbing into the turquoise with you.  

Christopher M. Edwards is an attorney in Washington State who enjoys doing manual labor when he gets the chance. His poetry has appeared before in online whispers & [Shouts].

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