The cloth covering his workbench was replaced twice a year.
The old one was thrown into the melt to recover
the tiny whiskers of gold and sometimes platinum.
He drank hot chocolate in the morning
Coffee made his hands tremble just a bit
– or maybe not, but he thought he could tell.
He did all the initials first; ordinary, easy to get out of the way.
Later he would smile and engrave a secret message in precious metal:
A star shines on the hour of our meeting.
He could see the new ring growing thinner over 60 years or so
until the sons and daughters would receive it in an envelope,
peer at delicate lettering, the faded worn words,
something about shining on.