Two hands are too many
to hold the family trinkets.
I sometimes wear my father’s ring.
I say it is forgiveness,
I say it is for a man who didn’t drink,
who didn’t smash plates on walls;
I say it is for a father who was proud
of my music and proud of his touchdowns;
I say it is for a faithful man,
a man whose backhand never hurt.
No, it’s not for crying in the night,
not for striking door frames and headboards.
It’s always just a dream, those things never happened:
His ring is my wish-ring.
I’ve made myself an old body,
too heavy to stand on bitter bones
or get this fat off of my spine,
let go of hunger, addiction, spite.
My wish-ring wants me to go for a walk
before dark, wash the dishes, dust the house,
clean the carpets, wash the drapes, play nice,
get in charge of my spending, ride my bicycle more.
My wish-ring says I am not old enough for these poems,
you can’t even own those! They are like chickdees that spiral
and alight on a fence, noticing me noticing them.
You can’t even reach out – they’ll fly away!