by Elizabeth Derby

Words seemed to come
Easily to him—
Round words like pedantic,
Short words like thrum
Or obscure like theosophy.
He used them as his beads,
Stringing them together.
He never told anyone
That he started with three,
Always three,
Gems of words
And put the other beads
Around them,
Supporting them with their plainness,
Until his necklace, his verse,
Was whole.
No one really understood his
Poetry, but he had his words
And the pleasure of
Running his vocal chord
Fingers over them.
That was the importance,
Not the message,
But the sensual preciousness
Of his gems.