Lost Ring
Shane Seely

Lost Ring

My finger drawn thin in the cold sun
of late December, the ring slid
insensibly somewhere into nowhere,
invisible among the understuff
like a gnome’s treasure. The first sign
was the sensation of the raw air
around the little band of skin
the ring had rested on. Had it
fallen in the leaves I’d left
unraked about the yard, now sogged
into a mat between the tufts of grass?
Had it flown off when I threw
into the weedy edge the dregs
I’d dredged from the birdbath’s
almost-ice? Had it rolled among
the dead stalks of the asters left
unpruned? So much goes overgrown
if not attended to. I keep
imagining its glint against
the lowered sun, its silver O
not quite the O it was
before the world reforged it. And the line
inscribed on its inside face, gone
inscrutable beyond the threshold
of the read world. The sun
stubs itself against the trees.
Here’s my hand, un-
inscribed, empty as the ring now lost
to the history of dirt, now remembered
by the small weight of its absence.

Shane Seely

is the author of two books of poems: The Surface of the Lit World, winner of the 2014 Hollis Summers Prize from Ohio University Press, and The Snowbound House, winner of the 2008 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. His chapbook of poems, History Here Requires Balboa, was published by Slash Pine Press in 2012. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he teaches in the MFA program in creative writing.