Nina Simon and Helen Whittaker

Helen Whittaker

With This Ring
Nina Simon


As a setting sun bleeds
violet and red into indigo-tinged skies
she unknots ropes of tension
that chafe her skin
and bruise her bones.

Releasing a sigh,
breathing eases,
heartbeat slows,
headache lifts.

The day is calmer
without him sitting in her palm
biting holes in her serenity,
suffocating her thoughts
with his noise.

She traces lines of life and marriage
up to the ring
he placed on her finger.

It slips off easily.
and her hand feels lighter,

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  1. Posted May 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm | #

    A very well-crafted, well-formatted poem with a strong emotional integrity.

    By not starting each line with a capital letter, you have allowed the lines to both stand on their own but also to be a part of the whole. We do not jar from line-to-line; they meld.

    Your careful use of commas works perfectly. For example, on the breathing verse we have short lines separated by commas to slow the reader in a mimic of that verse’s narrative.

    The final verse is poignant: liberating but gently so. The narrator’s personal revolution is, via the relaxation techniques taken from the inspirational photograph, transformed into a serene evolution.

    Very well done.


  2. Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:53 am | #

    Powerful stuff, Nina. You build the mood and tension skillfully, and the ending is a tour-de-force. I’m thrilled that my photo inspired you to write this! 🙂

  3. Posted May 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm | #

    It was a great photograph to work with, thank you. The hand and the pose said so much to me. Thank you for donating it for me to use.