An Offering

1When a creature dies ... the flesh
2and soft parts of the body rot quickly.
3All that is left are the bones and teeth.
4     (textbook entry on 'fossils')
5Sometimes. You, mother,
6dying, left what was hard first:
7bones weeping into
8your veins like flutes, teeth
9vanished on some hospital
10lunch tray. In your last
11mute days you parted
12with one more hard thing: the gold
13ring I was to save
14for my child. As your
15hand offered that bright circle
16(only seen as a
17whole now, when empty)
18did your thoughts reach, like mine, for
19your first wedding ring?
20You took that one off
21when I was seven or eight
22and sent it spinning
23from a car window.
24I can still feel the wet blades
25of grass slipping through
26my fingers, night dew
27coming on, you and father
28loud in the parked car.
29I searched there as if
30life spilled from a ring that lay
31somewhere out of sight
32but within reach, hid
33where only the crickets knew.
34I took the scraping
35of their mating calls
36for crying, as if they shared
37loss -- my childish heart
38consoled by a soft
39'as if.' The consolation
40carries on: their song
41(light as air, softer
42than voices) plays through my thoughts
43about that evening
44and fills the lost ring's
45hollow with life's most lasting
46part, cries for new love.
Publication Notes: 
Mining for Sun (London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2000): 13.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Special Copyright: 

<b>This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of John Reibetanz or the Brick Books permissions department.</b>