“Labradorite, or Black Irish” by Kyle Laws

Labradorite (Kyle Laws)

Turner Ray says about the dark, perfectly smoothed stone
that he holds in his hands that scientists have discovered
mountains on the moon with exactly this composition,
that it’s believed the moon was once part of Earth, and
when struck by an asteroid spun off, but not far enough
to be out of the same orbit. It remains attached by a thread
of gravity where it exerts influence—the pull of tides.

The philosophical connections are enough for an afternoon’s
thought, but what lingers is that first trip to the dermatologist
when she took one look at me, and announced to the intern
shadowing her, Black Irish, keep an eye out for them, very
susceptible to skin cancer.
Never having heard the term,
it didn’t sound like a compliment. And maybe because
of the look on my face she followed with, You know,
the Elizabeth Taylor look—pale skin, almost black hair,
and piercing eyes in shades of blue, some almost violet
like Elizabeth’s.

Better, but Black Irish haunts me, as does the labradorite.
Turner Ray tells me to hold it up to the light so I can see
the variations, how on the glass at the back of gallery
it looks black, but with light, colors of gold and green
appear, and chips of iron welded into its formation.
A stone that started on Earth went to the moon,
how the Irish in exodus after the famine must have felt,
and when they landed after 11 to 12 days in steerage,
it was what was whispered of them, black, like the scars
on potato they could no longer eat.

 

 

Kyle Laws poems, stories, and essays have recently appeared in Abbey, Anglican Theological Review, Cities (U.K.), Delmarva Review, Eleventh Muse, Exit 13, The Final Note, IthacaLit, Journey to Crone (U.K.), Lummox, The Main Street Rag, Malpaís Review, The Más Tequila Review, Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libations, Misfitmagazine, The Nervous Breakdown, Pearl, Philadelphia Poets, Pilgrimage, and St. Sebastian Review. Collections include My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino (dancing girl press), George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2013 award), Storm Inside the Walls (little books press), Going into Exile (Abbey Chapbooks), Tango (Kings Estate Press), and Apricot Wounds Straddling the Sky (Poetry Motel’s Suburban Wilderness Press). She edited two volumes for the Pueblo Poetry Project—From the Garret on Grand: On Miss Lonelyhearts and the Virgin of Guadalupe and Midnight Train to Dodge. She currently is editor of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. www.kylelaws.com

Read an interview with Kyle here.

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