On the boulevard, the Bradford pears
release their petals; they spill like salt
on the ground. My grandmother would
have pinched up the granules, thrown them over
her shoulder to fool the evil eye. My mother
would have said Don’t cry over what’s spilled.
When we were in Brittany, we saw les artisan
paludiers harvest it by hand, marketed
as fleur de sel, the flower of salt. When
we poured my mother’s ashes in the ocean,
they ran through my hands like grains
from a silver spout. On the blue canister
in my kitchen, there’s a little girl
standing in the rain in a yellow dress,
the same can of salt under her arm, open,
running out, like those Dutch interiors
repeating themselves in convex mirrors.
Repeating like the bits of DNA in molecules
that become the coins in our ovaries’ purse,
doled out month by month, drawn by the moon.
Long ago, someone tipped some salt
on a black skillet, and decided to call
that spillage “stars.”
~Barbara Crooker

poems online



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