The Trilobite

by Morgan Harlow

Over time it would have worn away to nothing. Luckily, Margery had stepped onto the scene and rescued it. It wasn’t the same as digging up wildflowers or robbing birds’ nests. It wasn’t a turtle or a frog.

If Harold had been along when she’d found the trilobite he would have told her to leave it. Once, he had lectured her for taking a pine cone out of the redwood forest.

Margery would have liked to set the trilobite on the windowsill where she could see it while she washed dishes. Then again, it might be more comfortable on the dirt under the flowering jasmine, or in the aquarium directly opposite the deep-sea diver. She knew better, though, than to try to explain it all to Harold—how she had left work early on Valentine’s Day to buy him a present but, because the weather had been fine, had ended up at Devil’s Lake instead. There she had come upon the trilobite, lying with a bunch of ordinary stones in a pool of melted snow.

Driving home, it occurred to her that the trilobite would be just the thing for Harold’s valentine. What better symbol of enduring love? Then she thought about it and decided to keep it for herself. Harold would only make them both feel guilty over it, and though she knew the trilobite could never be a guilty thing, she wasn’t yet prepared to take that risk.

Morgan Harlow‘s poems and other writing can be found in War, Literature & the Arts, the Tusculum Review, Washington Square, Nthposition, and elsewhere. A long poem is forthcoming in Descant (Canada), and one of her poems appears in the London-based blogzine Eyewear as part of the featured poet series. Morgan is a graduate of the MFA program at George Mason University and lives in rural Wisconsin.

Back to Issue Two: Winter 2009