I was so happy in the gem room.
The sun was president, I was just
dug up, all hell had shrunk
to a sulphur crystal. Something danced
on the point; it must have been me.
I had a hundred faces, and one of them
served up the ceiling in a perfect slice —
like a twelve-year-old saint
in some countryside where they only
read Revelation. I had some small
nugget of sense, for once, I was a mind
that understood the light …
Rain rained in my aquamarine.
The world’s knuckles gripped the bedstead.
I felt the red dynamiting of me in Missouri,
where all outdoors was my candy store,
where color sucked at its all-day self
and never became less sweet, less
new. “I want to put it in my mouth,”
said someone, “I almost want to eat it … ”
I had dozens of uses, but I was mostly
flat beautiful. Visitors just gasped
in the matte-black room where I freely
fluoresced. They saw me laid on a dictionary
to demonstrate my transparency,
which was complete; they could read the word
everything through me.
My name meant blood, meant seawater,
meant lemon. The eye in my agate
never blinked. I was believed to be formed
of frozen moonlight. I was cut so that a star
shone back. The purest and wind-clearest
hunk of me they carved into a horse.
When I was split to the purple and somehow still
standing, they called me a cathedral.
Yet just to the left of that
I spilled all over velvet.
The velvet is what did it —
I wanted to be smuggled.
Wanted to ride past all the alarms,
just before that drop of sweat hit
the floor. Wanted to end up in god-
knows-whose hands, a heist.
“Obscene,” said a man behind me,
“just in piles like that … obscene.”
Then I spilled another carat, laughing.
In Missouri you could pluck me
straight up off the ground. Gumdrops,
gobstoppers, jujubes. I thought:
try to suck me down to nothing,
and find yourself up against one
million years. In piles like that.
Just out there. For anyone. Obscene.
The legs of the real thing were
opening, flash and flash and flash.
I said: go ahead and smash the glass.
Give me a break-in like a kaleidoscope.
Someone will entirely drip with me
as soon as I get out of here.