Today's poem is by Suzanne Cleary


Rose gold engraved with a grain of wheat,
          neither large nor small, hard to say

if it belonged to the man or the woman,
          before the child that came of that union,

then the child's child, and how many times again,
          lives brief as grass, as wheat,

but the ring survives, shining today
          from the glass case in the rare book shop,

as if readers strapped for cash traded
          circle pins and tie tacks for the missing volume,

for a second copy of the book they could not give away.
          Hard to say how many of us

who live most deeply in books
          have asked to see the ring, meaning to touch it, slip it on

as if marrying ourselves to the moment,
          pledging ourselves to this slant light

of an afternoon in late August,
          the faint hum of trucks on the interstate

that used to be fields, back when August meant
          the lull before harvest, the rare afternoon

for sitting at the table after the pie is gone,
          looking across the plates at your partner

and allowing that life's worst days brought you somehow
          here. There. Easy to marry ourselves to the moment

but hard to be faithful to it, even as we set the ring
          on our palm, check inside for inscriptions,

find no names, no dates,
          just a white tag, $100, a steal

if a hundred dollars weren't a hundred dollars,
          if it were the ring we wanted

and not the ring's shining,
          not the ring's catching our eye,

just catching it,
          grain of wheat married briefly to light.

Copyright © 2014 Suzanne Cleary All rights reserved
from Beauty Mark
BkMk Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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