The Ring

The ringIt is one long fingernail with pearl-colored polish

that isolates a single sparkling stone

on gray velvet cloth.


It is a widow’s hand

each pale finger ringed with stones–

stones that slide sideways and click

softly together when she picks up

his gold wedding band.


It is a tinkling sound

that escapes her steady discipline

when she reaches across the counter–

bracelets and bangles , charms and cabinet keys,

silver and gold , all together

like wind chimes.

But she is no gypsy.


It is that she is a true lady

with some word marked across her years,

perhaps a name–

what a flashback would reveal.


It is her brow

as it slowly worries into a fear.

“I am no psychic…” she starts, then stops,

suddenly retreating behind a blushed smile,

eyes cast downward at the floor.


It is her surprise.

“I don’t know why I said that…” she begins again,

her left hand pressing against the skin

at the base of her neck.


It is the tone of her voice

which becomes strangely casual,

“Why don’t you just get rid of this ring?

You’re such a nice boy.”


*first seen in POET’S GALLERY






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