The Stones

Adrienne Raphel

What is this pocket for? Stones. What are stones
In the sandy dirt playground were stones
I picked up, then both hands, and pocket
Of this button-up black-and-white checked shirt.
I took stones for geodes.
Most stones aren’t but this one might be; that one possibly –

            Once I saw a life-sized geode
            On a corporate beige carpet, cut open
            Clean purple quartz, crystal and cut through 
            With light, amethyst facets suspended
            Immortal inside the warted rock crust,
            Dazzling concave metropolis,
            A geode the size of a chair I could sit in.
            Wall-to-wall rectangular windows
            Floor to ceiling around a corner
            Angled to a hallway off the bare lobby

At the museum gift shop, plastic bins
With clear dividers, each compartment
With a kind of stone. The geodes were all
Dirt-caked and the gritty gray-brown. They had tags
The way stuffed animals come with names.

            I turned the L knob on the big garage door,
            Wrested up until it caught whoosh all the way;
            I lined the geodes on the cement –
            What would it take, a hammer, an ice pick,
            Rap once so the whole splits in one sharp crack –
            Can’t get clear to the city layer by layer,
            The crystal only at once from the inside out.
            All of these geodes until one is

Today is my half-birthday, June 16th
I wonder what is my horoscope.
Bigar’s Stars. Here I am. Four stars. Today:
You might understand what is going on
With others. Tonight: Make time for yourself.
            Fourteen days ago, my grandmother’s birthday,
            I felt alert to it, a tightness
            At the top of my ribcage like holding my breath
            But still breathing; half a dozen
            Stones on the rough rim, I probably
            Only put one but in the scene I have
            In my head I’m alone.
                                    I have a little
Piece of pumice in the sunroom. Most stones
Felt something in my hand.
The pumice was too light.
I had a white smooth oval stone from I don’t know where
I clutched it in the hot of the hand
Until it got so hot I couldn’t
The robin’s next, I could have seen
I could have touched an egg, will she
            I took a turquoise piece from the gift shop;
            Could have put it in the nest to hatch a geode.
            When my mother got jewelry I took
            The blue box and the blue pouch.
                        I took a rock,
I took a rock from Hopkins Pond,
Haddonfield, NJ.