Green Hills Literary Lantern

The Death of Jewelry



Think of it this way: it’s either you or them.

So feel no qualms as you take a plastic bag

and browse among all the boxes on your dresser

weeding out the broken chains, the stubborn clasps,

the beads in colors matching clothes long gone,

costume jewelry too gaudy for your current wardrobe,

necklaces too tight for your relaxed neck,

heavy brooches that sag where you sag,

the Portuguese silver bracelet like handcuffs from a friend,

ornate stick pins bereft of lapels.


Close off the top of the bag with a twist tie.

Within a few minutes they will suffocate

along with memories of fancier times.

Some might call this murder or waste.

But you need the bareness now, nothing

glittering or rattling to distract you,

no ornament to pretend you look better than you are.




Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, 5 AM, Passages North, Atlanta Review, One Trick Pony, and Poetry East. Her chapbook Diorama was the winner of the Poems & Plays 2006 Tennessee Chapbook Prize. She lives in Michigan.