A Jewel For Esmeralda by Sarah Wallis

Past closing time and a huddle of heads peer

down into a velvet drawstring bag, a game


of chance, a game of luck, a game of stones

to be bingo called, by prospect and by plot,


three women of generational difference

cast about inside for a new cleaned jewel,


one in a wheelchair, one in a mac, one with her

hair half tied back, flying free, whipped


by the breeze, they lean down to see the emeralds

wink, their history a sparkle of tease,


memory holding to stone, the rings handed out

in turn, one for you, one for you,


and a new jewel for Esmeralda, to bring loyalty

to bring domestic bliss,


they laugh and advise; you can always sell on,

if they don’t work their magic,


then escape with this treasure and stone, decline

his sweet embrace and come on home,


the woman in the wheelchair twists, holds up

a clutch of diamonds flashing bright, saving her


grand-daughter a lighthouse, shining in the night.

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Sarah Wallis

Sarah Wallis is a poet and playwright based in Scotland. Theatrical residencies include Leeds Playhouse and Harrogate Theatre, as well as work for Leeds Fringe. Medusa Retold is due from Fly on the Wall Press, Dec 2020, a long form narrative poem retelling the myth from Medusa’s point of view. Recent work is at Selcouth Station, Ellipsis, Thimble and Lunate. Please find links at sarahwallis.net or via Twitter @wordweave.