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!