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Three Stones


Jagged and hard

to lift with one hand—

found in La Plata Canyon

when I was about to lose

whoever it was I thought

I knew—shaped

like the mountain

from whose side it was

plucked, on my desk

it points its sharp

edge heavenward

the way I used to live

my life like something

tough and new. But see

its gracious sedimentary

waves, subtle curves,

its millions of years,

soft and slow.



Rounded and flat

enough to skip upon

Lake Champlain

where I discovered it

with my here-again

gone-again friend,

one quartz vein

streaks across

its granite face,

imprisoned lightning.



Tiny sandstone

planet, elongated

rings chipped off

some ancient shore,

then ground smooth

by a glacier near Salzburg,

came to rest

in a farmer’s field

where I happened

upon it while in wonder

at good luck

one summer afternoon.

Old grudges gone,

at least forgotten,

this bit of history

spoke of what’s fragile—

flaking easily, one

crack in the middle.



—first published in Southern Poetry Review