More Than Pearls

We need night lights for the stairs
Because we keep stumbling in the dark.
Walmart sells them.

I throw on a dress
And fake pearls
The ones my mother got from the discount store.
If you squint,
You can pretend they are real.

Is this what I am worth?
A string of cheap pearls
When I am ready for the real thing?

More than rubies, more than pearls.
I am not there yet.
I am ungrateful for what I’ve got.
Say thank you
When you are worthy, then he will get you the real ones.

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But I am upset by this necklace.
Pretending that it is the real thing.
Pretending that it does not bother me.
Pretending that it is fine to be given small tokens
When I want it all
Or none.

I sail through Walmart with my gaggle of kids.
They run. They sulk. They take off their shoes.
No kind stranger offers to snap a photo,
Sensing that there is nothing to be remembered here.

As I check out
A mount of boys’ pants that don’t quite fit,
Food items, ice cream, sneakers, no candy,
I forget to buy the night lights.

We continue to stumble in the dark.
No one can tell if those pearls are real.