In England if you see a lone magpie one should repeat the words "I defy thee" seven times.

by Amy Turn Sharp


I am prone to hiding shiny bits away- things that make me remember a particular feeling or a day in the life. I like things that elicit strong feelings, little bits and bobs that make me cry as I pull a drawer open and find the item on a random weekend in May. I just don't keep my things all in order. I don't have jewelry boxes or special bowls. I just throw things here and there and without reason or whisper I find trinkets and talismans all over my life. I have moved house three times since the night my father in law and I drank a big bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame and talked about the future. We were in a tiny bistro that no longer exists and Joe was working and we drank the champagne because I had decided it was a special day. I pretended that it was my half birthday and we laughed our heads off and I can see myself so clearly taking the ball point pen out of my handbag and writing on the big fat cork. I wrote "me and dad 2000" on the brown cork. I told him that this was going to be the start of my collection of corks. I had just read some Martha Stewart idea of cork collection trivet nonsense and I was ready to become crafty. He smiled and patted my hand. We smoked his cheap British cigarettes outside on the street and he was happy. I was happy but I never kept another cork. I just kept that one. I just found it this weekend and if I didn't remember what I had written on the top of it I may be lost to know -as it is faded ink and nearly worn off the surface. But I know what it said and I can see the night right inside of my eyes when I close them. I see it like a flickering old movie made of super 8 mm film.

I didn't throw the cork away but even now -hours later I am not sure where I tossed it. Perhaps inside of the pantry or in a box in the basement where I am trying to purge and organize my life. I don't know. But it will surface someday. No doubt. Rise up and find me again on some hot day when all I can do is watch the inside of my eyelids tell me stories that make me lean against the counters.