The family stopped at a roadside stand
somewhere in the hot, dusty West,
and I picked out a rose and gold ring.
The first jewelry I chose
for myself was nothing special
yet magical. I hadn’t known gold
could come in two colors, braided
in two twisting strands. How delicate
the rose would look. Someone
had discovered these properties
and woven them into a circle
I could wear the rest of my life
if I didn’t lose it. Near the register,
my mother slipped me some cash.
Back in the car, my father took
the wheel again and barreled
past more sage and cacti. She
looked out toward distant mesas,
and I sat behind them, lost
in the landscape I saw on my finger.
Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines including Notre Dame Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Forge, and in anthologies including in plein air, Grabbed, and forthcoming, Dead of Winter. She works in a company that mitigates the effects of climate change.
© 2021, Catherine Gonick