Jasmine V. Bailey

Gold Dust

Sometimes in your apartment,

underground, underheated,

with its view of the green gully,

later the shorn, brown gully


and houses closer than we’d imagined,

where we never cooked and rarely ate,

with one table covered in letters,

a side table with a coaster


and one beautiful magazine,

the television on cinderblocks

where basketball often played,

and black and white films,


your home of the tenuous shelves,

the bedroom of frames,

the whole milk in the refrigerator,

the broken railing to the porchless light,


the daffodil, six tulips and borrowed

trash, recycling, parking,

of flimsy chairs and the collected works

of Merrill and Montale,


where old receipts admitted some betrayals

if held under a strangled lamp,

and the paintings seemed to have been selected

when you were happier,


in that bed whose far end my anklet

was never recovered from,

you read aloud.

Then, in that voice


I saw what I was circling—

something almost  proved real,

as one lost in the Sierra Madre

sees how large it all is, how majesty



is the independence of things

from our little striving.

I witnessed it as it ran through my fingers,

sourceless, unattachable, sweet.



“Gold Dust” is from Alexandria (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014).