I wear the heaviness of my mother’s rings:
the deep shaded carnelian–burgundy
slab–and the veined malachite–oblong green.
I don’t usually favor silver, plus they’re huge
even on my own large long hands.
My sister thought they’d been gifts from me
so she said to take them, that I didn’t know
how she had to pry them from the cold fingers,
how I would never feel those final moments.
She described my mother’s last angers, the
slamming her knuckles, banging these stones
on the bedside table where the six small bottles
of water were just where I’d left them
the day before when she called out goodbye my darling,
you saved my life. Thank you. Later, on the phone,
in an answer to me: don’t worry, I don’t want to die.
I’ll try to drink. I’m going to have some soup soon.

Her hands were never without those two rings.
Too big on thick bands, and constantly twirling around
they weigh me down. Maybe though, they actually
ground me. After awhile they might seem almost
weightless, become a part of me like my grief
that flattening loss, now merely merged.

–Rebecca Weiner Tompkins


Poetry

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