Rock Collection – a poem by Ryan Keating

Rock Collection

My daughter deposits a rock 
into the round-topped treasure box 
that guards her growing collection.
Thuds and rattles sound the value
of each piece to her and so to me.
What distinguishes these from those
scattered in the garden outside
isn’t quantified by qualities
or colors or mineral compounds.
She likes them.
And that’s enough for both of us.

She knows I keep rocks of my own.
A brown round one in my briefcase
gathered from a gravel driveway,
a stone altar to remember 
losing a long season of love.
We look at it together sometimes
so she can share its worth with me,
a pebble three thousand miles from
the rubble heap, not because it shines,
but because we look at it sometimes.

And today, squinting from the sun
on my front porch and the planet
I’m learning to see the beauty
as Christ opens to me his treasure
composed of rocks, thuds and rattles,
heaps of things and shining people,
gardens and memories of loss,
a collection, a stone altar,
beautiful because he keeps it.
And we look at it together.

Ryan Keating is a pastor, writer, winemaker and coffee roaster on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. His work can be found in publications such as Saint Katherine Review (forthcoming), Ekstasis Magazine, Agape Review, and Miras Dergi, where he is a regular contributor in English and Turkish.

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