Pregnant, I soften. Swollen hands won’t let
me wear the wedding or engagement rings,
the hilltop in Ohio, its resplendent
plane trees we stood between, or my walking
a downtown Chicago street that leads to the lake,
the glances I snuck at the emerald sapphire’s gleam
of that future date. I string all this on a chain
round my neck, with a ring-sized medal of Mary
bursting with prophecy in Portuguese
heavens, while the children she chose kneel at her feet.
On its back, a dome presents red silt debris
and a circle of script as on a coin reads,
Terra de Fatima. Do I believe its words?
Did I believe Father Frank, who gave us prayer
cards to Saint Gerard and necklaces with amber
hearts which held, he said, after our first loss, the tears
of heroes? That chunk of plastic, smooth and worn
from my touch, from this same body waxing to term
with the second child to be in our arms on earth,
should it please God, on this earth and no other.
I question the order, how to arrange
my rings around Our Lady. And should the relic
grains of soil or her apparition face
the world? Not endless, the choices, but still. It’s endlessness
that takes us, and never gets a strong hold
or lets go. I feel it here and not here now,
when any permutation of the three
can go together, clinking, beautifully.