Gold on the Tip of Your Tongue

Day 314 - Broken Ring

The night wind strips snow from pines
and plops it on the metal roof.
The ring a jeweler made for you
has recurred after thirty years.
It looks too small and timid
to fit anyone’s actual finger.
A birthstone—garnet, I think—
nests in a sheaf of gold leaves.

The night wind frightens me
with its wild accusations but
I focus on the ring. Has it sulked
this long in my lower desk drawer?
Should I box and mail it wherever
you’re clenching your naked fist?
Or have you replaced it with a ring
that better fits your enlarged fingers
and your self-motivated lifestyle?

The wind calms for a moment,
gathering its thoughts. The ring,
which I could have sworn you’d taken
when you moved to Seattle,
feels heavy enough to anchor
a cruise ship. I don’t recall
your birthday, don’t remember
which month garnet represents.

Should I enter the digital gloom
and search for signs of your presence?
Should I offer to mail you the ring
that cost me three weeks’ pay
and signified nothing? The wind
slurs across the roof, dropping slush
as gray as homeless underwear.

I’ll leave the ring in the lost and found
box at the college; and maybe
for a moment as you drowse off
you’ll taste gold on the tip of your tongue
and wonder where the East Coast went
when you turned your back and ran.

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