A day was lost on that locket
A loose hair lock, one hundred and four years old
Let go, tore away from the safety
Of its bronze snap case.
Only slow patience, a steady hand,
And all day –
Hardly breathing: just object and stillness –
Could glue back each strand.
And every day’s like that –
Sure hands lay out the pieces, neat and ordered,
Collect chaos, make connections
Dust stains and sponge soils,
To renew and remake; take lonely, broken, ancient things
And put them back together.
Stories, memories are conserved,
And held whole, healed, in your palms.
And when your life seems to shiver into shrapnel
And smash into shards and sharps
Take your time with that, too.
Use science: balance risks of vibrations
That, like a fragile thylacine hide, threaten to shake you apart,
Against the carcinogen of a broken heart.
Take a deep breath – steady your hand
And with precision,
Lay the pieces out in order
And start fixing, conserving,
Put each piece of yourself back in place, one fragment at a time.
CE Collins is a morris dancing, shanty singing English teacher who writes. She writes in Australia and used to live on a narrowboat in England which was so interesting, she didn't need a personality. Her poems have been published by Not Very Quiet, Cephalopress, Cicerone Journal, and Sledgehammer Lit. Her folk tale collection Forests of Silver, Forests of Gold will soon be published by Between These Shores Books. Find her on Twitter @C_E_Collins