The Wedding Ring

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This series is curated by Gali Rotstein.

The Wedding Ring

by Terri Hanauer

I tried on my mother’s clothes
she was already in the ground
lying beside my father
so I didn’t think she’d mind.

It was the dress from that photo
when she was 20 in Prague.
The photo was black and white
but I had a feeling the dress was emerald
wool with long sleeves and a thin belt around the waist.
I tried on the shoes. Heavy black thick straps and heel.
Nylons with a seam down the back.
She had a gold tooth so I put that on, too.
I let my hair be wavy like hers
with two clips pulling the sides back.
The hat was black with a thin net veil.
Her stride was long and strong
she had no idea where she was headed.

When I was ten I stood in front of her dresser
the round mirror with me in the middle.
It was eight o’clock
middle of July
Ed Sullivan was on
the lamp was on
I took off
my clothes and put on her pearls
and then her lace blouse.
I heard laughter.
It wasn’t coming from the living room.
It was the neighbors next door
they were standing on their back porch
watching my shadow through the pull-down shade.
Laughing. At. Me.
I crouched down
lay on the floor for half an hour. Shaking.
No more to see
they went back into their house.

For my wedding
I wore my mother’s ring
the one she carried through the camps,
the one that held in its
brilliance the facets of
the women who had come before.
I married them all.

They put their arms around me
and held me close.

Today I wear my mother’s kindness.
At least I try to.
Oh, and I thought you should know
the neighbors have all died.

Diamond ring
1.42 CT classic emerald cut diamond ring set in 18k white gold. The shank is studded with 110 round diamonds totaling 0.79 cttw. Available from Raiman Rocks.

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Poetry by Terri Hanauer © Chiaroscuro Productions, 2020

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