It was many years ago that my sister and I would pull down a small black box in my mother’s closet. Inside were just a few pieces of jewelry, but in our family, they were rare and precious.They belonged to my grandmother, and they were our only physical connection to her. Few things came to America with my immigrant parents. This box was one of them. Out of this box of jewels, we made our own imaginary grandmother.


On the floor of the closet,

sitting with shoes and boxes,

clothes brushing our heads,

we opened the black leather box.

Even with the little light in

our dark cave, we saw

the glint of metal, the sparkle of stones.

And more – when we slipped

on rings and bracelets, we knew

the warmth of long-ago skin,

the echo of laughter,

the reflection of beauty in stone,

an imagined life long lost.