Friday, 6 September 2019

My mother’s rings           

by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

Three rings on her hands
one gold two silver maybe sleeping
when someone slipped them off

doesn’t know what happened
maybe coaxed away during a bath  
by fake-helpful soapy fingers

simple as children blowing bubbles
but now her hands remember
feel empty and wrong without rings

mom gazes down finds
no gold no silver no mist
of memory no suspicious breeze  

while I check blank faces of aides
tucking clean sheets on an empty bed
preparing for the next worn out body 

their white uniforms have
slim pockets where swift fingers
might hide an old lady’s rings but

my complaint brings stiff denials
officially polished lies about
the whole shitty disgusting business.

* * * * *

Nina Rubinstein Alonso’s work appeared in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, The New Boston Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Ibbetson Street, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Southern Women’s Review, Black Poppy Review, Tears and Laughter, etc. David Godine Press published her book This Body, and her chapbook Riot Wake is upcoming from Červená Barva Press. She taught at Boston Ballet, directs Fresh Pond Ballet School and practices raja yoga meditation (  


  1. "the whole shitty disgusting business," indeed.

  2. So real - I worked in a nursing home and there were many sad stories like your darling mother's heartbreaking experience....those rings, as your poem so beautifully describes, were the chapters of her life that kept her memory alive and her present in focus! Beautifully written, but so very sad!