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Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Mother's Ring

I just discovered this sad but beautiful poem and wanted to post it here for reflection. I have some of my mother's rings: her engagement ring to my father, which I have worn since I was 16 -- though I haven't been wearing it as much since her death (think I'll put it back on tomorrow) --- and her high school class ring, which speaks to me of her accomplishments and how smart she was and how she wanted to be a teacher but never did do it.

The poet is Lyn Lifsin, whose work I am teaching tomorrow in Eng 102.


Once too tight
now it swivels on
her bony finger.
Only her knuckles
bulge. I can't
do it, my mother
says, a shriveled
bird in the stark
hospital bed. When
I saw the dead bird
in Morristown I
felt it was a sign.
In two weeks my
mother's mouth
is so dry it curls
as if full of wild
feathers. The ring
glitters, spits
out a yellow light,
not anywhere near
as pure as the
myth of its per-
fection my mother
spun of it like
whatever else
pleased her,
like me

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