This is something I strung together after arriving in New York, around 2004.

RL Fifield, 2012.

Around the Neck

In the teeming urban underthicket
A simmer eludes us,
Writhing behind shades drawn
Mistaken and squirming.

Enthusiasm bruises
Blue and so painful
the minute luxuriates on hot faces,
Ticking tenderly through the emptiness.

The necklace twists tighter at my throat
Wincing pinch of link and stone
as dessert yields silence, dry cake with old jam,
forced sweet in the layers.

Jarring clatter
Garnets spill over floorboards stained with
Wine we have not spilled, glasses
We have not shattered.
The street’s chatter and scrape scoffs this heave
And I won’t inhale.

Cling quiet in the filigree chill.
Doors squeal on hinges and
Clasp again its jamb, the stairs push away.
Stream solitary through indifferent
January snap,
Goading and bitter empty.

Monday gray
Girding expectations, avoided insinuations,
and coffee armament,
Artery rattling.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.