Self-Portrait as a Man-Made Diamond

Benjamin Garcia | Poetry

Your very own LifeGem diamond can be created from the carbon in cremation ashes, a lock of hair. 

Transparency might be a virtue,
especially where diamonds

are concerned. But I am not
a diamond yet. I could be

burned in a pyre, release
periodic bonds, post bail.

Near nothing, I could be
pressured into permanence,

do the great “I do” dare, cannonball
into the infinity pool—

if I gave my warmth up,
if I agreed to live

in that permafrost
of forever, where nothing

is able to leave
a footprint or a scratch

because there is nothing for me
in immortality’s tundra

to even chip my teeth on. I couldn’t
live that way now, much less

after. Composure
and bling have never been my thing.

The only boots I’ve ever owned
were work, not dance boots.

And I’ve always been of the mind
that if butter and bacon

make everything better, lard
makes everything best. Lard

that clarifies the pastry
bag, that clarifies the taste

of the pastry. That’s my kind
of diamond, opaque but

dismisses opacity, can make
a damn good cake. Like fat,

I’m not pig-headed, though
I came from pigs. Solid

at room-temp, keeps tempo
with the climate. Universal,

in other words, useful. Trust me,
if I were reduced to diamond

I’d be of such a quality
no one would want me;

but dentists would wield me
in their drill bits, their burrs.