By: Miriam Rubin
I have this ring you made for me
When I was six.
It was so big then, I wore it on my thumb.
It still fits now, fourteen years later
In the winter, it slips around on my ring finger.
Your hands were not so strong,
Your voice was not so strong,
Your vice was not strong either.
And all the things you left behind
Are precious relics of a precious era.
I drew with pastels that were once yours
The awful nylon brushes you didn’t use—
Well I used them, and threw them out.
They didn’t hold paint very well
I ought have saved them anyhow
And nowadays I paint, roundabout.
The way this ring keeps spinning,
Absentmindedly on my finger,
The way my mind keeps running
That picture of you, standing next to a tree, next to a girl, next to me.
I’d like to know, I suppose
What you would say
Of the things I’ve made
The way I think
I’m made of paint.
I cried the first time that I saw blue,
Real blue, pigment blue—the blue that turned all other things to grey
Did you? Or would you even know what I mean to say, when I say
Nothing is more quiet or more loud
Than the sound of paint
Nothing is more human than the way
It hurts to say a thing out loud that you should see
And now I want to know,
What would you say,
Or rather see.
Do we carry some trait or some disease
That can’t let rest what the world would be
But must keep fiddling with the thing
Must not sleep or eat or breathe
Without this ring in place,
Till when removed,
Its phantom takes its place.