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 is a senior from Wilmington, N.C. majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry. Following graduation, he would like to get into professional beekeeping, attend graduate school, or become a trophy husband.