When I travel,
I select a rock from
the road and write
the name of the place on it.
My rocks say, Africa,
Alaska, Lafayette,
Greece, even.

One small rock
rests on my desk,
within reach each time
I want its smooth cool,
its azure, streaked with garnet.

It looked alone, indeed scared
as I lifted it from the bottom
of the handbag I use—
New Orleans Museum of Arts—
where I store my odds
and ends. Not a prized purchase

from a gift shop, my rock does not
look Orleanian, nor African,
nor Eskimo. How did it find
the bottom of my handbag?
Homeless before this, it needed
to be written: I call my rock home.

Patricia A. Ward
from her book Three Poets in New Orleans
Xavier Review Press, 2000

used with permission of the poet

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