She keeps her rings locked in a box
with a painting of a skull, with no jaw,
on the front.
Rarely opening it, she mostly just looks
at them on her fingers for a few minutes
then puts them away.
The stones cut into octagons embedded
in tungsten and silver.
Driving an hour in the snow, tires spinning
in place after stoplights, she goes to a hill
behind an old church buried by birch trees.
From the top she looks away from the city
and watches the ghosts practice
with swords they forged out of the mist
that forever surrounds them.
She never figured out what ghosts
could have to fight about,
but that was her mystery, like a distant
memory you can never remember
but always know is missing.
Sometimes she thought she could
see it, in those rings of hers,
that somewhere deep in the scarlet jewels
were the answers she reached for,
in her dreams and deepest thoughts,
but couldn’t hold.