Luivette Resto

La Coqueta

(from the word coquette: a woman who flirts lightheartedly 
with men to win their admiration and affection; from the Spanish word: a dressing table; a vanity)

Nestled in a red chestnut box
rain droplets carved out
so its contents can breathe

my wedding ring resides
I hold it in my palm
like I did our children’s feet
examine their diminutive size
knowing they wouldn’t fit there one day 
today the surface of my dresser, coqueta
as my abuela calls it,
is covered in rings I have bought
since I took off the gold promise of a twenty-four-year-old
etched with a heart and initials
rings from flea markets in New Orleans
wooden ones wielded from the oak bark of another man’s house
copper ones with the petroglyph of el coquí burned on
ostentatious rings that glitter and shine in the sun and moonlight
Nordstrom Rack bargains that cover two of my fingers
knuckle busters my coworker calls them
always on my right hand
anything on the left feels awkward like first dates
I collect rings like paramours and dalliances 
pull them off my fingers and leave them on my coqueta 
my hands are mine now.

Luivette Resto was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, but proudly raised in the Bronx. Her books Unfinished Portrait and Ascension have been published by Tía Chucha Press. Her latest poems can be read in the anthology What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump.