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


  1. Wonderful, makes you think about what really counts.

  2. Intense and very thought provoking!

  3. You have done it again - used a childhood experience to bring a photograph to life. Well done.

    I appreciate it very much because I know the story behind the poem.

  4. wonder why it's so hard to let go of "things" after all they are just "things"

    Yet even now, 4 years after we were flooded from our home, I still think back to all the things we lost and it is not the objects themselves I miss but the stories behind them.

    Of all that we lost, I miss most our bumpy spoon. An old sugar spoon that my boys would fight over. We could have easily bought more to equally share the wealth but we knew it built character in them to negotiate terms & settlements. That spoon wrote so many stories on all of our hearts. A reminiscent story teller, that bumpy spoon!

    Your piece was a very invoking read for me! Thank you!

  5. Thought provoking piece. I am deathly afraid of tornadoes. When I am stressed, I dream tornado dreams.

  6. I like the picture you paint

  7. Survival is a mystery at times - but what a fabulous piece.

  8. I think Chrissy is right. When we have a handed down object, the stories are wrapped all around it. Those stories can make a thing priceless.

    Poetry24…where news is the Muse

  9. I didn't know about this blog, Jacqui. You're good. Really good. I like this portrait of your grandmother very much.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.