I sift through the words as if mining for gold,
watching the coarse sand slip between my fingertips
and concentrating on the continuous flow of grainy letters.
The occasional precious stone grazes past, leaving
a light mark on my knuckle as if to proudly proclaim
“I was here.”
Closing my fist before it has a chance to escape,
I hold on so tightly that I am numb to the red rivers
flowing down the lifelines of my palm in tortuous streaks.
Each rock, sharp and uncut, falls beneath my skilled fingers
and I chip away at the edges, one atom at a time,
until an iridescent shine gleams from its smooth surface,
a labor of lucent love cradled in my calloused hands.