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.

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