It is not convention, I know, to carry a stone
Outside of your body, the weight in a trouser pocket,
Discarded on the floor each night, draped over a chair
Before I climb into bed.
Sometimes, I take it out and place it on the bedside table,
Where it is safe and I can watch it,
The way the lamp light finds no purchase to pin shadows,
And so drapes them, doubtingly, fading out of sight.
The way the moon bathes it, nullifies its pricking colours,
Flannels its glints and renders it smooth.
Sometimes, I tuck it beneath my pillow,
And let the press of it mount beneath my ear,
Mostly, it stays in my pocket, where I hold it,
Cold and firm and undeniable
When I need to remember the ground beneath me.
Once, dry mouthed and thirsting, I placed it between my teeth,
And closed my mouth around it,
And, wetted, marvelled at its absence
Of hooks or divots to slow my sliding tongue.
The friction is all mine, the papillae,
The swirled ridges of my finger-tips,
So soothed to feel so little.
I know it is not convention, after all these years,
To carry this gastrolith in my hand,
And not to let it sink me.
When I choose to float.