PERIAPT AND HU-KWA

She bought the tea trolley at auction along with other pieces
that took her fancy, mostly Chinoiserie.  After the diagnosis,
she placed the trolley in the living room where chemo
and chamomile often kept her asleep on a chaise.  One day

longing for distraction, she began to dust and noticed a small
oblong compartment underneath the trolley: a secret drawer,
stuffed with tissues.  One little tug at the wad revealed a gold charm
bracelet, its trinkets depicting a charmed life: a ruby-studded heart,

a champagne bottle, the Eiffel Tower, two terriers, shamrock,
mortar board, horseshoe, and a zodiac medallion: the Cancer sign.
After recovery, when she served high tea off the trolley, her bracelet
jangled and clinked against the china: a new charm for every year.

 

Susan Kinsolving‘s books include The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Among Flowers. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, Yale Review, andThe Paris Review. She has taught at numerous universities, including Bennington and CalArts. Several of her poems have been set to music and performed in the United
States and abroad.

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