" 'There's just one little thing: a ring. I don't mean on the phone.' "—Eartha Kitt

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 24 2006 7:33 AM

" 'There's just one little thing: a ring. I don't mean on the phone.' "—Eartha Kitt

Click here to listen to Kathy Fagan read this poem.


In lieu of the latkes,
the usual caroling,
and adorable Kazakh
orphans, instead of the crèche
and, après ski,
the figgy pudding slash
kwanzaa stew,
the yuletide blogging,
the tinsel, the garland,
and eight maids eggnogging,
allow me to mince
neither word nor pie
and provide advice
and a list forthwith:
Do not buy and regret,
dear. A diamond
is what to get,
dear. Its extra weight
I'm built to carry.
The starboard lilt,
the opiate
drag on one knuckle,
I'm willing to accommodate
and promise not to buckle
under. Been bottom.
Done shouldered.
It's my time to
plunder, and have a little lovely
something, a nothing-too-modest
something, to set off
all this black
and dazzle the crosshatch
right out of my skin.
O halogen track,
O twinkling lights,
O shining star
upon the highest bough:
you'll soon learn how
to be the ladies in waiting,
stable pony to the thoroughbred,
Martin to a Lewis,
Cathy to a Patty,
mere vein to the carotid—
i.e., to be outwatted.
O Christmas
tree, dear dreidl,
could it be more plainly said?
Some demand the head
upon a platter, others lick
the silver off their spoon.
This childless mother
desires neither moon
nor man but the carat
dangled all this time.
So snare it,
Santa, from that other
sorry cow.
The Baby Jesus phoned,
says I should wear it now.

Kathy Fagan is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently The Charmand MOVING & ST RAGE. She teaches at The Ohio State University, where she also co-edits The Journal.