Washing my face my eye catches
the silver of the ring on my left hand.
My surprise, every time!
My face stares back at me from the mirror,
your naked body pale in the shadows
as you bend to recover your dress
from the floor. I turn.
There are such moments when we could
almost believe . . . such moments.
How last night in the hotel lobby the power
failed again and we gathered around the gaslight
with the others, Mohammed playing drums
and telling jokes I had already heard in Dublin,
the Americans and their stories of the desert.
How you said so little, while I, tempted at every turn,
elaborated on the details of our life together -
you, silent and unhappy in the shadows.
How one smile would’ve been enough.
That day in Dublin before we left,
the rain bucketed down on us.
We walked out among the city streets oblivious
in a trance of expectation.
Then stopping at a stall on College Green
bought two matching silver rings -
cover for our travelling together
in Islamic North Africa, our faked marriage
and imaginary honeymoon in better
weather. We laughed at the silliness of it,
but pressed the rings deep into our pockets
and thought of nothing else all evening.
Today I find your ring on the dresser.
Last night before you went to sleep
I noticed how, tired of unnecessary
fictions, you placed it there,
and I knew that you would not wear it again.