Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Magpie 53 - Just a Pinch of Salt
Just a Pinch of Salt
The light caught its facets
Amid the rubble of the tornado
I bent and picked it up
Looked obsessively for its mate
Some other tiny treasure
From Grandmother's china cabinet.
The hours I had spent
Peering through its curved glass
At the alabaster parrot
A crystal vase
Her collection of salt and pepper shakers
Individual for each diner at her table.
The table was in the tree
The bronze horses bent and broken
The glass of the china cabinet
Glittered upon the bare slab
Once the house's floor
Beneath the Persian carpet in the neighbor's yard.
"All yours when I am gone," she would say
Before asking me to fetch her medicine
Those bottles tumbled out of the upturned frig
Not a single one broken
Colorful capsules everywhere
Like confetti among the glass.
I took the tinny shaker in my hand
Up ending it salt sprinkled out
I pinched it from my palm
Tossed it over my shoulder
Bad luck to spill salt
Even from a shaker unbroken in a tornado?
"She was a mean spirited woman"
Mother whispered at my back
"All her precious treasures gone
It is what comes of holding things too dear"
I closed my hand over the sole survivor
And put it in my pocket.
J. Binford-Bell 2011
Ruskin Heights Tornado
May 20, 1957