Fashion, Lifestyle, Poem

Sestina of the Twenties

Sestina of the Twenties

My grandmother wears a chain of opals
in a bluish, bronze-laced, beaded jewel ring
around her neck. They’re warm on her skin, fair
and pale, so smooth and luminescent their
multicolored cracks gleam for me to see,
jangling on her as she dances each night.

She tells me that in her youth, footsore nights
were spent at speakeasies, buried beneath opal
sequins, where men lined up at bars to see
the way she would dance. There was not a ring
on her finger, no husband, nothing there
but the roaring twenties and red lips, fair

skin, and eyes so wide it seemed just unfair
to have a life so free. Loose, wild, each night
she spent swaying with handsome boys, with their
hands placed on her hips, buying her opals,
drinks, glitter and more glitter, diamond rings
and smooth pearl necklaces straight from the sea.

Downtown the party began with sweet seas
of wine and evening gowns. A girl with fair
hair and long legs took to the center ring–
she allowed the smooth jazz to blur the night
in a saxophone sonnet. The opals
flew along my grandmother’s neckline, their

creamy edges diving by her throat, their
shine glowing brighter than the pulsing sea
of shimmering smoke and stunning opal
smiles. Crowds of half-drunk women and men,
fair cheeks turned red from wine too soon in the night,
this was the life. Chimes of wine glasses rang

in toasts, they cheered for all– from the gold rings
on their toes to the lavish liquor. Their
excitement was contagious in the night
air, lifting up bow ties and glitter. See
the way they would pay the night with a
fare of loose hair, lipstick, and shining opals!

Grandma still wears the ring of stones. Seeing
the cracks on their wine-scented, foggy, fair
coats, she twirls at night, clutching her opals.

You may also like

1 Comment

  • Blaire

    Great poem!!

    February 8, 2017 at 11:11 pm
  • Leave a Reply