I Have This Ring You Made For Me

 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.

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