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Roger Pfingston


Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. He has a new chapbook, What’s Given, from Kattywompus Press and poems scheduled to appear in U.S. 1 Worksheets, Passager, and Main Street Rag.


Sixty years ago at the edge
of an Indiana strip mine, drinking
illegal beers on the afternoon
of our senior prom, a girl placed
my class ring on the tip of a branch
of briars and then proceeded
to teasingly toss stones at it
because another girl had worn the ring
earlier in the year. To her surprise
and mine, this girl—having moved
to Evansville from across the Ohio
with a Loo-a-vull accent—hit it
on the third try in such a way that I
still remember the slow motion dip,
like a diver’s weight coming down
on the board before springing up
and out and over the water-filled mine
where the ring my parents had bought
disappeared with only a tiny ripple
of a splash. The story thereafter,
for my parents and anyone who asked,
was that she’d kept it when she
moved back to Louisville for a summer job
with the promise of return. After months
of phone calls and letters that dwindled,
I heard she had married a fireman.
Now and then my mother would ask
about the ring, even as late as my
college graduation, when she gave me
her what-a-shame look, the two of us
shaking our heads with closure.


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