This is not a cowbell. It is
a story wrapped in a linen shirt
and carried from the old world into the new.
It is origin. It is love.
It is proof that all the sacrifices
of the immigranti were worth it.
This is not a crack. It is
an ocean between the shores
of opposing continents.
It is absence. It is grief. It is
an opening. It is
This is not a rusty nut. It is
a testament to ingenuity.
It is legacy. It is pride.
This is not a bell. It is
a lump of copper and tin harvested
from the earth and transformed by fire.
It is utility. Use it well. Use it
as a cornerstone. Build on it a bridge
of stories to carry you home.
- My great-grandfather, Martin Prpić, died in 1911 on his farm near Lovinac, Croatia, when he fell from a bukva, a beech tree, as he was gathering dead branches for firewood.
- My father, Joseph Perpick, brought home a cowbell as a souvenir from the family farm when he and his sisters visited their parents’ homeland in 1987.
- My dad was a storyteller, a puller of legs. When he gave me this bell, he gave it with a story: that the bell was cracked when his grandfather fell from the back of the ox he was standing on as he reached up into the bukva to pull down a branch.
This object poem responds to an invitation by Mish at dVerse. It’s the first time I’ve participated in an online poetry prompt, but I was inspired by Sarah, who wrote about a Moka coffeepot that was actually a bird.