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            By Lyn Lifshin

            Let's say you, even though you know I
            mean I, found this ring in your mother's
            closet in a shoe box of what mattered:
            letters from the man she couldn't marry,
            pale blue ink on blue paper, bluesy
            letters. Papers from the dog she would
            never not long for. Then you see the ring,
            Clara, etched on the 18 carat gold. Do you
            feel you've been shaken by a ghost tho
            the name's not familiar? Or maybe you
            ask every living relative, most who won't
            be for long: Who is Clara? If I were you,
            I'd write poems with that title, put the ring
            in a safe deposit box. What would you
            think, before a trip to Peru, getting a
            letter that Clara Lazarus died without a
            will? Would you try to track her down,
            you with the ring in your drawer or lock
            box? Go to the deaths in Wilmington
            where all the Lazaruses lived? Lets say
            you are leaving for Paris, not Peru and
            the lawyers want you to sign. Wouldn't
            you like some family history? Something
            about this woman whose ring in a room
            you used to sleep in mystifies? In testate
            they will tell you it takes so long,
            how they will search Europe for more
            relatives. Wouldn't you want to
            know more about this Clara whose
            finger is close to the size of your own?
            The family tree they wrap the check in is a
            mess. Jesus, you knew more not even
            hearing of Clara. When you go to
            slide on the ring, as if to enter her life the
            only way you can, the ring is missing. On
            the one you thought it was, nothing is
            etched inside. After months of re-checking
            jewel boxes, banks, would you begin
            to think her name could have dissolved?
            If it had slid thru your fingers, would
            you think it is elusive as a soul?

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Document last modified on: 12/09/2006

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