by Camilla Jean Welsch
a black jewelry box from Macy’s,
and therein lay the cross
though it might have been an engagement ring,
one could have thought.
the pretty black lady, her hair pulled back, had comforted me, and was to me motherly,
the way she wrote the title and publisher of the book
out for me so neatly in blue ballpoint script
on the bookshop bookmark,
though I am sure she was younger than me.
I was after a book of poetry.
She spurred me: “You know where they have good crosses?…”
“Where?” I said.
And me, incredulously, “How did you know that???”
because I had the idea in my mind
and the coupon in my pocket for months now,
from my Christmastime shopping,
and it only seemed right
to redeem it at Eastertime now.
Then I could cross out that glittering champagne dress I’d bought there for New Year’s
(what a mess),
which was the last time I’d seen him in a good light.