Thursday, October 09, 2008

Treasure

[I don't know if this is prose poetry or maybe something else, but it started out with a prompt from the Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect (to use cup, gate, and sea) but it also seemed to satisfy the Totally Optionally Prompt to write about "discoveries." ]


Treasure

She found the once-white cup, chipped
and dirty, dull red rust peaking through where the enamel gave way long ago. Full of dirt and dead leaves and sticks, and probably a bug or two, but its handle was still solid and it wanted to be found. From the hole at the base of the tree, she took it to the creek and washed away years of abandonment and promptly filled it with big, fat acorns that littered the path.

Her steps carried her away from the trees at a stately, measured pace. With her eyes closed she saw the aisle of the church, decorated with flowers to match those her sister had pinned in her hair. She replayed her movements, slow and careful, following the instructions to drop just one petal at a time from her basket. One by one the acorns fell, bouncing on the pavement, rolling to one side or the other, and one wobbled its way into a pothole in the street.

When her fingers brushed the bottom of the cup, she pulled out the last two acorns and rolled them around in her hand, like the silver Chinese balls that her grandmother kept in a red silk box on the shelf by her bed. They were awkward to hold and so big that she nearly dropped them.

The old wooden bridge, just wide enough for one car to cross at a time, had gaps where you could look through into the water below. She dropped one of the acorns through one of the holes and watched for the splash, but she couldn't see if it sank to the bottom or bobbled its way toward the sea.

Cup in one hand and the last acorn in the other, she skipped toward the big houses. The grand Victorians seemed palatial, but maybe not as nice as they might once have been. Like the cup, they were neglected, with weeds and bushes taking over, with paint peeling from the siding (where there was any left at all), and lopsided shutters hanging on out of habit. The wrought iron fencing was rusty and showed only a passing acquaintance with paint. The clanking rattle was tremendously satisfying as she raked the cup across the iron rails until she got to the empty space where the gate yawned permanently open, sagging deep into the soil of the yard.

She tucked the remaining acorn in her pocket and raced herself down the sidewalk to the beach where autumn's chill had finally chased away the summerfolk. The cup was perfect for digging in the dunes, and for carrying water to newly-minted moats, and moving a pile of mussel shells to the back of the castle.

Eventually she headed back home, to the secret place in her yard where she kept her treasures safe from the growups who would call them junk. She tucked the cup and acorn in next to the pieces of beach-glass and the yellow feather, beside the coin with a hole in the center and the green plastic turtle, inside the blue pottery saucer that was only chipped in one place.


6 comments:

Sweet Talking Guy.. said...

Don't you just love treasure?
Nicely told little story.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Andy.

Stan Ski said...

Treasure comes in all shapes and sizes - if you find it...keep it!

tumblewords said...

Very nice - charming and nostalgic!

gautami tripathy said...

It is prose poetry and works very well...

evil is objectively effortless

Kill Word Verification

sister AE said...

Thanks, Stan and Sue.

hi, Gautami. thank you.