The Mourning Ring

As the woman grows older, her life continues on. But the memory of the one she lost never strays from her grip.

the mourning ring

By Jacob Yankey

One day,
working at my

father’s jewelry store,
a woman walked in.

Showing me the glossy, tumbled
piece of coal set in the center, this

woman tells me she needs her
mourning ring resized. Her fingers

have grown pudgier, more round
since he left her. She has not been dealing

with the stress well, she says. She walks
around and around the house, and she frets

and she walks around the house, and she frets.
She eats every cookie and sweet in the house

and she frets. Her husband worked at the
mine – the old one in Kanawha County. He

got black lung. She walks around and
around the house thinking about all of

the expenses – new tires for the van,
the dryer needs maintenance on the

cylinder, she says. Bills and coins
and dollar signs and zeroes fill her

mind’s eye and what’s more?
Her son says he wants to

work in the mines to help
with all of the bills. It

makes her head
spin, she says.

Jacob Yankey studied chemistry and minored in creative writing with a focus in poetry. He graduated from UNC in 2020 and is a graduate student at the University of Utah as of 2021.