Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Citrine Time Capsule


I was reading
the fashion issue of
The New York Times Magazine
last Sunday
when I saw a Cartier ad
for a ring whose stone,
magnified to matchbook size,
was a glowing, almost-square citrine,
color varying from honey-gold to strong-tea.
It transported me back immediately
to the colonial house that was my early home,
two streets from train tracks
leading to Boston.
Late-afternoon sun,
the hour before dinner,
poured through west-facing windows
into the living room
with its oriental rugs and volumes
of Dickens, Sackville-West, Bulwer-Lytton.
The blaze of the slanting rays
christened the room with a golden haze
in which dust motes floated.
Over the years the half-pulled shades
became increasingly yellow with age.
I felt cozy
scrunched up in a corner
of a daffodil linen sofa,
shaded by its high back,
devouring books before dinner
about David Copperfield
or Scarlett O’Hara.


When the sun disappeared,
I reached up and
snapped on a lamp
and continued to read
in a pool of light
until it was time
for the family
to gather.
Yanked from a trance,
I went to the candlelit table.
I could hardly wait
to get back to my book,
wondering if Wilkins Micawber
would have enough money
or if Scarlett could steal Ashley
from his bride-to-be, Melanie.

Like an opened time capsule,
this memory
flooded me
as I admired
the gleam of the citrine,
radiant as sunlight on water.

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