On the hottest day that summer, a rainbow
Arced over the clock-tower of the brick pile
We call The Rotunda, a dying shopping mall
With a wilting grocery, a druggist, a flower stall,
A dozen half-lit vacant retail stores
And a crafts gallery. I had just bought
A jewel box, the lid a parquet braid
Of spruce and rosewood artfully inlaid,
With a comb of music teeth to play a tune
For one who might never open it to listen.
There is a clear-cut purity in the gift
Purchased with love that may not be returned.
I walked out into twilight holding the treasure
The clerk had gift-wrapped in white paper
And bound with ribbons, silver and turquoise
All cunningly curled. Then I looked up
And saw the rainbow against the violet sky
Late in the rainless day, bold and unbidden.
No gold anchors the generous bridge of heaven.
–DANIEL MARK EPSTEIN