my mother put down her knife and fork,
pulled her wedding ring from its groove,
placing it contemplatively on her middle
finger. So natural was the move,
so tender, I almost didn’t notice.
Five years, she said, five years, once a week,
I wrote a letter to your father. And waited
until time was like ash on my tongue.
Not one letter back, not a single note.
She sighed, smiling, the weight gone. This
prime rib is really tender, isn’t it? she asked.
Chris Abani, “In the Middle of Dinner” from Dog Woman. Copyright © 2004 by Chris Abani. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.
Source: Dog Woman
(Red Hen Press, 2004)