The Missing Ring

by Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan

Ankle-deep in the clover,
my girls and I hunt not for the symbol
of the thing but for the thing itself,

flash of sterling and diamond
in the grasses, the exchanged thing,
that which a decade ago

I stood greedily accepting among
the ranunculus and just-parted skies,
how the soul offers herself up,

how I took the name as if it were my own
and wrung it round my finger,
a child tying a ribbon to remember,

and memory itself a lopsided thumb,
a paging through all the seasons,
and so spring is come again, and what

could I do but put the ring in my pocket,
a safekeeping that isn’t safe, a hole
worn through by the materials that mark me

as mother and wife, less seldom as woman,
but as woman too, and losing it,
do I lose everything, do I lose nothing,

do I lose that moment some fifteen years gone
when sitting in a well-lit room, he told me,
breathlessly, that I have such pretty feet?

Last updated November 23, 2022