My mother, beautiful and dramatic,
Owned a small town jewelry shop
Catering mostly to women.
Each week she went into Manhattan,
Purchased gold and jewels; then
Skillfully sold her loyal customers
What they would want to buy
Before they knew they had to have it.
I grew up watching her care
For them, so on my seventh birthday,
I asked for a birthstone ring.
My Mother did not let me down.
She gave me the most magnificent ruby ring,
Child sized, but with a diamond on each side.
I wore it, showed to anyone who’d look,
And I did not lose it. It was
My Mother’s certification
Of my worth.
Many years later, with the ring
Still sitting in my jewelry box
I reminded her of it.
As matter-of-factly as
Telling me to turn off the TV, she said,
“Why I picked that up in Woolworth’s.”
My ruby ring, the one my Mother gave me,
Was only a five and dime legacy.
I never told my Mother
The way I felt.
If she had only said nothing,
Her silence would have been a gift.
She was probably right,
As a kid, I’d lose the ring before long,
But I didn’t lose it, I lost
Being her ruby.