Some Roman women saved their tears in them. They held flat narrow-necked heart-shaped delicate phials Below their eyelids against each cheek in turn And caught their tears. No one could shed enough In a single spasm to fill that tiny hollow, So the women stoppered them with glass teardrops And waited. In the meanwhile, some wore them Like pendants to have that smooth translucent glass (The colors of changing light on the hills) Nearby all day and all night: none could be certain When grief or pain or a sudden abundance Of sorrow might come welling into their eyes Again. When they were full to the brim, Some women carried them as charms Of remembrance through their lives And into their tombs, and some would pour them out Into quiet streams or onto the bare earth And walk away, and some would drink them.
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