Bearing five blue-black sapphires the hue of Lugano
olives ripening like the blueing of a bruise, the ring
does not belong to Cricket Villa on the hill,
not to its limestone walls, not last night’s moon
that slips behind it, not magenta bougainvillea
that frames its chestnut door. Not to red tegola roofs
below in Camaiore, not tawny yellow houses,
not church bells, their baritone or tenor,
not to barking dogs. It does not belong
to kestrels hunting, nor hazelnut, nor cypress
spires, nor the shoal of silver fish-clouds drifting
nor the cerulean sea that fills the v between the slopes.
Not to the votive altar she passes as she climbs the hill,
not its vase of plastic yellow roses, its peeling paint,
not its infant, nor Madonna who points the path to San Pietro,
not to slink of bronze-striped skinks or grasshoppers
flashing periwinkle wings. Not to who she has become.
It belongs to who she used to be—tongue extended to receive,
veiled and kneeling at an altar on a Sunday afternoon.
It belongs to the blue-black beetle she flips over with a stick
to see its fissured sapphire underside. To black ants
seething in the beetle’s cracks, to the dust-dulled platinum
of olive leaves. It belongs best to the bitter pits of windfall
olives that avail when she slips it off then drops it in.
Laura Isabela Amsel lives in Madison, Mississippi. She holds an MA in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has poems in recent issues of Arlington Literary Journal, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Briar Cliff Review, Dunes Review, Nimrod International Journal, and Atlanta Review. Her poem “Father” won the 2022 Monica Taylor Poetry Prize, and her poem “Cain” won the 2022 Mikrokosmos Poetry Prize, judged by A.E. Stallings. Her first book manuscript, A Brief Campaign of Sting and Sweet, won the Brick Road Poetry Award.