Some people collect old china,petite and pretty and polite;
or plates from every state in the country,
round ones, flat ones, bronze ones, beveled-edged ones
usually discovered in scattered fleas markets,just off I-10 in
or political pins from ‘60, ’64, and ’76,
Kennedy, Johnson, and Ford.
I, on the other hand, collect rocks,smooth ones, flat ones, odd-shaped ones,
from railroad lines in
in Idaho, the plains of Montana, or the high prairies in Wyoming—
some stuck out like farmers in the
others lay half hidden in sand and weeds.
The three-date rock appeared after Church,
scavenged clandestinely from a river bed, high in the Beartooths,
by Boy Scouts in search of dates with my daughter.Another came from a rodeo coach,
a completely round one, rounded by years
of water splashing in and around it,
like a princess on a platter. One camefrom my Dad’s place after he died,
a round black volcanic one with a bowl
in the middle where, he said, Indians ground corn for supper.
superfluous to me until I held the rock in my hands,
Now, whether any of it was true seemed
caressed it like mothers and their newborn babes.
The story was too good to let truth surface.
Often I shuffle from rock to rock, remembering
I keep them all out front where I can see them.
how they came to be, wincing at the words:
“We’re not taking those on our next move.”
I already know the poundage and hidden spacesbetween the brown sofa and book boxes
where rocks can hide their true identities
and stories yet to be told.