Marriage

You get married
And I hurt over
Our light-filled past

Together we grew out of the spongy dark forest
Moss around our feet
Fern around our hips
Berries in our mouths
And our heads like the shoots of firs and beeches
We could have flown on the mountain top wind
And we did, running down rocky slopes

You read mythology and I wrote stories
Sylt Croatia England Scotland France at home
We ironed tea towels and laid the table among the girls
Talking about atoms and birds and Betelgeuse
Building lake dwellings in our minds
And we did
Build pots with raw clay and old ashes we found at the creek.

There was no use for teachers in trying to figure out
Which one of us had written the essay for class and which one had copied from the other
When we claimed we’d written it together
Do you remember how we wrote about the Nibelungs
And quarrelled about who was the true villain?
Do you remember anything at all? And if you do, is there worth to it, or do you remember it faintly, squeezing your chocolate eyes in effort, not even a story of heroic youth, but a pale “Now, that you are saying it”?
There was no point in asking which one of us had written any given essay
It didn’t matter, because we could have done it both
And often did

Your brown limbs in the bog water
Of our vanishing lake in the forest
Your brown hair trailing behind you
When you swam
The hair I plaited for you before gym class began
Smelling your skin of vanilla and earth

That’s not for me anymore,
And I shouldn’t hurt
Because you have left me long ago
For groups and parties and excellence
And I shouldn’t hurt
Because I have no right to
“You are not a school girl!”
It means
“You are not a husband!”

I am a woman
Who was your best friend once
Debris of the past

I will stand in the back of the church
Between two strangers
You will hold flowers without smell
Vow to a god that isn’t there
And I will remember how your mother told me the story at your breakfast table
How she almost said no at her wedding to your father
Because the priest dared to mention Paul
Actually letting her feel the shackles
But you will say yes without hesitation
And then you will leave.

(2013)

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2 Responses to Marriage

  1. Bev Jo says:

    That is so beautiful. You say it perfectly: that wondrous, powerful, magical time of sharing love and your life with another girl. And then the betrayal and loss and being put in your place because you are not a male and have so little value in comparison. I really identify.

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