I found the ring I wore, when we were together, buried in a drawer beneath punctured passports, ID cards for places that would no longer recognize me, and rusty batteries.

We’d set ourselves against the great war in which your people slaughtered mine, as an alternative world.

In the mall, you showed me two jewelry-store rings. When I refused, you screamed pain and murder and brought the mall to a halt except for concerned mall cops.

The ring, on closer examination, was the sort of gold you might have extracted from the teeth of a corpse.

E. Shaskan Bumas: writes fiction (The Price of Tea in China), non-fiction (most recently in Five Points), hybrid (current Hotel Amerika), and translations (the last novels of the late great Carlos Fuentes with Alejandro Branger); volunteers (PEN Prison Writing); and teaches from self-isolation (New Jersey City University).