Speaking in Calendars


By Jon Riccio

If birthstones were blind
we’d climb the chapel,
groom its zenith,
jeans and a staircase
making barber poles of afternoon.

If sapphire were altimeters
and a root beer stand
we’d take September and blink
once for malted, twice for gray.
Turquoise, that Bible store,
discipleship inlaid.

If, lifeline of barrette,
if jade were gratis
we’d dabble in barometers,
divvy the vinaigrette.
Tanzanite for you, Fahrenheit for me
like clemency granting teeth
or the crocus sunned most
on antelope fingertips
wondering whether 
carnelian stammers,
if amethyst rues
the month you died.                                                                                                                       

If one man’s January is another’s brusque
think necklace and clasp.
Stagger peridot and crumble zeal,
its February your phenyl star,
April, the agate taken to lunch.
If speaking in calendars
moor opal to empirical
and clay-mate the cot.
Foist the chimes of your
change-ringing days
like inventoried glass. 

If challis, valance.
Talismans then tinnitus,
December a steamer trunk of hematite
the same as Stetson is a brim
or bramble of bluff calling ether’s garnet,
forgiving anything
save tourmaline and June.


Former Midwesterner Jon Riccio studied viola performance at Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music. A current MFA student living in Tucson, he is a recipient of the University of Arizona Foundation's Poetry Award.

Photo Credit: Samuel Ace