How to Mine Quartz

— Jessica Bixel

You had blue eyes, like our mother. She taught me amethyst means intoxicated. She said, this is our birthstone. Said, this is your baby brother. She gave me a small rock. This is both. You were heaviest when I caught you hanging halfway out an upstairs window. I saw my arms turning into terrible flumes. I saw you falling. And when you didn’t, when you crawled back in and ran from me, I saw what it meant to be split in two. Sill and sky. Stone and earth. Brother and sister. I watched you for days, waiting for you to sneak away and try again. Dearest, I’ll go anywhere that memory can’t find me. For example, when quartz contains iron it can be irradiated to give the amethyst color. Citrine is merely burnt amethyst. Quartz is the second-most-abundant material in the Earth’s continental crust, after feldspar. Most mornings you were so bright I could have worn you on a chain around my neck. Most mornings you were so small you might have let me. Your wrists strung through with gold. I’m trying to be precise. Dearest, you’ve always been too close to dying, like our mother. She taught me suicide attempts come in threes.

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