A Bounty of Rocks
BY Andrew Jones
As a child, you selected the roundest ones,
polished them between your dry summer palms,
and pitched them to your siblings
waiting to swing a yellow plastic bat.
In a story, you marveled how one man
could carry a smooth pebble in his cheek
while the soldiers under him perished in war,
while he thought of the girl he loved.
Low tide along the Mumbles coast
revealed a moist beach full of protruding
shells, twigs, seaweed, and slick stones.
You tucked the smoothest in your pocket
as a charm for the long journey home.
Hiding from a gusty Pacific wind
you ventured into the cold water of a secluded cove,
the tide reaching the hem of your skirt,
and claimed a jagged rock from beneath your step
as a token for your new life.
In a bleak kitchen we sift through a bag
of gravel and sand scooped from a Montana river bed.
Dripping warm tap water over the grainy clumps
reveals tiny sapphires—pink, clear, light blue.
We gather our humble gems to dry
on a paper towel, before stashing them
in our wooden box filled with stones—
the other container of bounties and treasures.
Andrew Jones currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where he works as an editor for a textbook publisher. He is a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. His writing has appeared in publications such as Farmhouse Magazine, Poetry Midwest, Tattoo Highway, and Red River Review, among others.