Control was all
I wanted: a handle
on the day, the night
when it curved,
when it swayed,
when I could sense
the teeming stars
in light, in dark
the sun’s bare wire.
Some switch
to turn it off:
each shadow
pinned to each tree
like a radius
of some infant’s
milk it spilled.
And the leaves,
their gossip
of claw and beak
and wind and heat
and wing. Tether
lake to bank and
cloud to peak.
And weather it.
Weather it. All this
to say I’ve
taken off my ring.


Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Stein. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 22, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"During a writing residency at the Blue Mountain Center, I read Major Jackson's poem "On Removing the Wedding Band" in Holding Company, and it hit me with agonizing clarity. In that Adirondack setting, it combined with an experience that had recently drop-kicked me out of my comfort zone and set me thinking about the notions we hold of stability and commitment, sparking this poem about veering toward and away—or maybe just veering."
—Melissa Stein