Gift from Queenie, May She Rest in Peace

She gave me a box of bath salts like uncut emeralds
pulverised to powder ? greyish-blue and gritty.
I put them, with the clementine from my stocking, at the bottom of my list of favourite gifts,
and forgot them. Only now, years later, do I run
them under water, worry they are so ancient
they will stain my skin. Worse ? lace the heat
with arsenic green, leak an Aztec hex into the suds,
turning me as mean as their giver. I soak for hours
until I look as old as her, like wrinkled fruit;
until I see her face in mine and feel my heart contract.

from Kitsune (Cinnamon Press, 2015), ? Jane McKie 2015, used by permission of the author

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