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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