An argent setting disciplines
your birthstone to fit your finger.
The orange-yellow of your topaz
simmers in self-satisfaction
but would look more convincing in gold.
I realize this antique setting
bears much family history,
but fourteen or eighteen karat
would better frame so arrogant
a specimen of mineral depth.
You also convey great depth,
especially when greased with white
Bordeaux or Riesling. Maybe
you should wear gold eyeliner
like a post-public child. Maybe
you should dress in gold lamé
like a country-western singer
to convince me that you’re serious
about the secrets you surely bear.
When you gesture to the waiter,
he responds to the glint of topaz,
which suggests a massive tip.
When you shake hands with strangers,
your ring promises endless nights
of sultry adventure no one
would ever forget. Today inclines
like a mountainside. The sea roars
in its drudgery, its pores open
to whatever you might suggest.
Before we slump over dinner,
choosing lobster over steak,
let’s drop by the goldsmith and ask
how vividly he could reset
your birthstone, how critically
this would revise your outlook.
It won’t hurt. You can refute
his suggestions. But the yellow dusk
cries out for compliments, and caught
in the glint of your topaz
our favorite star crackles and dies.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (2018).