You can judge the authenticity of a pearl
by its temperature, string, and texture,
The red-haired lady at the garage sale
told me as I pulled a strand of grays
from the sparkling pile of junk in a box.
Hold a pearl in your palm, and clutch it,
clam-like. It should first be cool to the touch
and then leach heat from your skin.
Now look for the knots in the string.
Each pearl should be individually secured
by the silk. In case it should break.
I saw each tiny knot, like a seed pearl
guarding the pearl’s entrance and exit.
Last is the texture. Does it feel smooth?
I rolled it around on a finger. It did.
Well, hold it to your tooth, and gently
Scrape it up and down. How does it feel?
If it’s real, it should be grainy.
And in my mouth it felt like sand, and made
a dull sound like the distant surf.