the stone by Melanie Power

Poem title: the stone Poet name: Melanie Power Poem: amid an ocean breeze with weary hands someone I loved handed a stone to me said I cannot lift this I mistook it for a gift so I carried the stone everywhere with me into parties convenience stores even into bed as someone rolled against my body my skin grew mineral leaden tongue shoulders sagging with weight lovers asked how did you come to carry a thing so heavy well I was the stone and it was me our dark lives cut from the same quarry in some shadowy cave a miner had absolved us of our obscurity together we enjoyed metallic of nighttime rainfall on lakes the dawn after a full moon how could I give up something made of someone who loved me the stone had been passed down so long my hands were shaped to hold its ache my arms born to bear this weight some things just are the rattle of trees make manifest the wind’s shape do you know anything at all about fate some nights I dreamt that I lost it forgot it on some park bench or metro car with wet eyes I’d awaken no longer sure how to relate to the world unable to move I’d stay all day ashen in bed curled against its cold mass until the months I grew too sick to eat losing sinew white hair falling to earth like snow wrists brittle I could barely lift myself so I dragged my body to the tip of the coast so long had I carried it so long had I called it home by that late hour in my life I did not fear goodbyes so with my last thin-boned powers I hugged the stone close I shut my eyes at the edge held my breath but instead I let the stone go it fell down and down and down and down until it crashed against the waves then gravity dragged it to the dark floor of the sea and I hauled myself all the way home with the muscle the stone had left behind in me lately I have been learning how to live I am learning what love is I do not think about the stone every day every hour anymore but please do not call me free End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Melanie Power Previously published in Full Moon of Afraid and Craving, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022. Melanie Power is the Montreal-based author of Full Moon of Afraid and Craving (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022). She is from St. John’s, Newfoundland.