Content Warning: blood, violence, dark themes
Michele Mekel – Mementos
Blood diamonds aren’t only quarried from sandy, sub-Saharan soils.
Many glittering gems are mined at home—from the blood and bone
of the fingers they adorn or the throats they encircle.
Given as “gifts,” these carbon-based crystals
are paid in full—with a currency
of black eyes and broken spirits.
How many carats per fracture?
What clarity per stitch?
What cut per betrayal?
What color corresponds with heartbreak?
Those shimmering, sanguine-steeped stones
celebrate bruises and contusions
on ears they pierce and around wrists they wrap:
more lasting stigmata of a lover’s crushing grip.
Living in Happy Valley, Michele Mekel wears many hats of her choosing: writer and editor; educator and bioethicist; poetess and creatrix; cat herder and chief can opener; witch and woman; and, above all, human. With more than 150 poems published, her work has appeared in various academic and creative publications, including being featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and nominated for Best of the Net. Her poetry has also been translated into Cherokee. She served as co-principal investigator for the Viral Imaginations: COVID-19 project (viralimaginations.psu.edu).
Artwork: Blood from a Stone by Helen Gwyn Jones
Helen Gwyn Jones (she/her) started recording her world at the age of 8 when she bought a Brownie camera from her sister, something which has become a lifelong passion. A collector of the past (hers and other people’s) she likes nothing better than muted images of imperfection. May be found poring over Welsh grammar books when not photographing drains or going into raptures over rust. Recent publications include Hungry Ghost Project, Free Flash Fiction, Acropolis Journal, Paddler Press, Blink-Ink, Hecate, Pareidolia, Moss Puppy, The Levatio, Camas, Subliminal, Terse Instagram: @helengwynjones Twitter: @helengwynjones Facebook: Helen Gwyn Jones Photographic Artist