In the Office of Diamonds
In the fifth floor office, your father the diamond-dealer placed three diamonds along the crease between my middle and ring: marquis, sweet- heart, oval. He gave me a small glass to inspect the black scrapes along the face—said I was a natural at finding them. You ran your hand over a faded wall map he’d put up twenty years ago, didn’t watch as he tweezed the gems from the damp slit my two stiff fingers made under the lamp.
“Where’d you find the map,” you asked staring into its pale blue ocean. “Rand McNally,” he muttered, “I meant to mark the places I wanted to go.” Then he took out some photographs from an envelope to show me the South Africans polishing, small telescopes attached to their eyes, work- ing over a long table somewhere in Texas. “They enjoy what they do,” he insisted though I hadn’t asked if they did. I sat quite still while he went on. “The yellow comes from an absence of nitrogen.” “And here is dispersion— light spun in blades.” “We’ll find you one someday.” I wondered if you’d heard that one in here before. Below us, the hills of Pittsburgh darkened, the rash of houselights appeared. Your father carefully replaced the gems to a velvet pouch, then, a bit sadly, returned it to a drawer in the filing cabinet. He sighed at you, leaning against that map, waiting to leave. And I saw what was so rare to him, beyond the parade of the gems, was rooted, caught in you.