We always said Mother was a magpie,

collecting trinkets of any shape or size

as long as they sparkled.


She adored the flash of the fake diamond

on her finger turning it this way and that

to blaze with light.


Though the real jewel of her mind dulled

and winked down to ash she still

insisted on wearing


a festoon of green and gold Mardi Gras

beads that she found in the street after

a parade had passed.


In the end we had to open so many tiny

boxes crammed with shiny things of

little or no value


and remember she was always a magpie

yet when she left there was no flash

of white on black wings


nor the blue iridescence of feathers in

flight to signal a well-made departure

just a faint swirling


as corner dust stirred when the covers

ceased their agonal rising and the hand

with the ring grew still.


©Dana Hughes 10.4.17





One thought on “Magpie

  1. This aches, it is so good. Your mother’s presence is palpable in your description of the fake diamond ring and the Mardi Gras beads. Anyone with aging parents with dementia sees their own reality written here. It’s beautiful–full of pain, but beautiful.

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