The stones looked like nothing
more than dinosaur eggs
my neighbor’s archaeologist son brought back
to Ohio from the desert.
He sprinkled them between snowdrops
and iris on the side of their house,
taught me to run my thumb over volcanic
imperfections, listen for the emptiness
within that grew quartz, agate, calcite
for 35 million years.
He let me pick one,
asked what I wished
to see inside. Afraid
I’d find quartz corrupted by iron brown
minerals when everything I wanted that summer was purple,
I replied, beauty, though I must have meant astonishment.
He nodded, chiseled the stone into two exact halves
of a miniature snowstorm,
icicles of calcite rimmed with milk-blue calcedony
flowing like water circling through clouds,
updrafts, downdrafts, each cycle adding a new layer
until the ball of water was too heavy to be held
by vapors, and fell as hailstones I collected
in the eye of April tornadoes.
Beneath the mercury sky
they glowed like giant pearls
my mother let me store in the deep freeze
as if we could stockpile wonder,
make it last longer than childhood.
newest book is Second Shift: Essays (Del Sol Press). She is the author of In the Garden of Stone (Hub City Press), winner of the South Carolina Novel Prize and a Gold IPPY Award. She’s also published two short-story collections: Savage Pilgrims (Serving House Books) and My Mother’s War Stories (Winnow Press), the latter of which received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. Her web chapbook, Wash Day, appears in the Web Del Sol International Chapbook Series.
Her nonfiction, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, The Louisville Review, Puerto del Sol, New Letters, and Shenandoah. Selections from her photo essay, “White Blossoms,” appeared in Earth Hymn (Volume 6 of the KYSO Flash Anthology), with the full essay published online in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash.
Ms. Tekulve has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She teaches in the BFA and MFA writing programs at Converse University.
Author’s website: https://susantekulve.com/