O Gemstone of the People,
lath of the domed skies of mosques,
you paved and plied the Silk Road
toward the wanton eyes of France
where you were called “pierre turquoise”
or Turkish Stone, though Persians held
your soul within the lodes of Isfahan.
Despite your fame
I know that you are merely bulbs
of cryptocrystalline phosphate,
a hydrous web of botryoidal copper
that bubbled out of vugs and veins
to form those perfect azure blues
and the ferrous greens of terror.
I’m surprised to find you are not a trail.
Instead, you are 1500 square miles
bound solely by the spirit of a stone,
a stone that calls the new moon,
a talisman that brings the rains,
that teases chicken-shit pittances
before the Palace of the Governors.
I never knew it was a path
I had to take until the day I placed
those cabouchons around your neck.
And then the ring you gave to draw me in:
at dawn I hold it to my eyes
and in its stone, so varicosed,
I see the fractured cataracts of clouds
and know I’ve almost reached the end.
Lew Watts is originally from Wales and now lives and works in Santa Fe and Chicago. His most recent work has appeared 14by14, Able Muse, Decanto, Modern Haiku, The Raintown Review and Orbis amongst others and his first collection Lessons for Tangueros was published in 2011.