Beginner's Luck

  1. I was a lucky girl.
    unfurled like a flower
    in a safe garden, locked
    by love from trespass
    and trampling. So sweet
    the memories, the perfume of years.
    The life of each of us
    is too brief;
    we are lucky
    to have had
    any of what we had
    that is not punishment
    or tempering
    for an unknown reason.
    Our hope that someone
    will love us
    and lock the gates
    to keep us safe
    for all our days
    while inside us
    Luck is unfurling,
    opening us
    to a long-lived life.
  2. I had so many aunts, and so many uncles.
    And one mother, and one father.
    So many sisters and two brothers. In-laws.
    And a plethora of cousins. Nieces and nephews now
    grand or great ones.
    Grandparents. I remember on both sides
    of Time.
    My mother's father would put one hand
    in his pant's pocket, touching money he would give
    us for solving his riddle.

    Such long, wide sight of memory.
    Sometimes I've had friends.
    I was destined to be happy.
    To have all that I have.
    A thousand cowrie shells rattling
    in my pockets.
  3. I haven't always had what I wanted
    and I wanted what I could not have,
    but I have a holding heart
    that keeps people inside. I am
    a lucky woman.
    A thousand cowrie shells rattling
    in my pockets. I was destined
    to be happy in this moment.
    In this immeasurable moment.
  4. A while ago I was singing
    about my happiness;
    now I know my summer student is gone,
    not much more than twenty-one.
    He was killed at a party,
    a case of mistaken identity.
    He was unlucky, wasn't he?
    And the burn of it singes my tongue.

    In every cowrie shell
    there is a serrated howl
    in the pockets of many hearts.
  5. Someone opened a gate, trespassed, trampled.
  6. We are, each, a cowrie shell rattling in God's pocket.
    What is Luck?
    Who can solve this riddle?
    Who can do it in a minute?
  7. He was lucky then. A culinary artist,
    he had a gift. His words danced.
    I remembered him. He was so vividly drawn.
    His words danced irrepressibly, rattling
    on the page in an act of divination.

    His luck ran out.
    But a part of him stays inside
    rattling in us,
    keeping me awake this night.