Ethiopian Pearl

Written by: julie heckman

Bright white sharp teeth open
and shut, for years she sat
chained to this madman, who
howled at me jealously, biting 
like a wild dog at whoever came
close to our Ethiopian Pearl.

I convinced her to let him go.
We were young, hand in hand.
I would do anything for her and 
she for me. She gave me a pearl
once and I hid it in my jacket 
pocket for over a year. 

I painted a still life for her 
in our home with large windows
on each side (more than a dab of 
windows), the bedroom a place to 
dream and relax in the sun and 
watch the gnarled pear trees grow.

I remember the day she began 
to fade. She had to become 
white. Her badly bleached hair 
cheap and yellow. Her beautifully 
sculpted nose captured in a metal 
brace. Lovely full lips now cut 
and taped.