in those pearls mama gave me.
Mama bought them, full price,
at the store on the corner of Jackson and Hull
the only one on the street,
she'd never been in before.
She didnt tell Daddy
because those pearls were just from her;
those pearls were just for me.
I was turning thirteen
the first time they pirouetted on my collarbone
and suddenly my overalls were a ball gown
suddenly my knotted hair was blonde and straight
suddenly i was royalty,
all because of that string of pearls-
Mama gave me.
I wore them to my prom,
I wore them at my first interview,
I wore them at my wedding,
I wore them the day my baby was born,
and i wore them every other day
i was told i wore so much shine out of them-
i could have worn them away.
My daughter turned thirteen yesterday,
and a gift was easy to come by.
Her father bought her some roses and a dress,
and signed a card from the both of us,
but i had a gift of my own.
My neck had never felt so empty as when she undid the clasp,
but my heart was never so full.
i cried and i told her "sorry baby, they don't shine like they used to"
and though her hair was blonde and straight and she stood before me in a gown,
she told me: "Mama they're a dream come true".
She came home the next day
with tears in her eyes.
She told me the string just gave way,
and the beads had fallen to the floor
like a rush of rain on my windshield.
she said she had tried to pick the pieces up,
but the pearl's fate was sealed.
I told her not to cry,
and spoke softly to her:
"i didn't give you pearls to keep,
their magic isnt yours or mine,
i gave you pearls to love-
pearls of impression,
and you took them,
and made a million memories,
and nothing can break from you that they were real.
and whether they sit on your neck or not baby,
my Mama's pearls are with you, you just gotta feel"