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Dancing at Your Wedding

I wish I hadn’t danced like that, un-

dignified, wild, but consider your groom’s

family, full press of uncles, aunts, parents,

generations of sticking together, then your own

scattered mess of faithlessness, and there

you are, father on one arm, me on your other,

two captive animals lured to the same pen.

There I am on the old VCR tape,

flouncing, you could say that,

into the reception with my new man,

your ex-stepfather crazily lurking

in the background. I’m wearing the filmy,

matronly mother-of-the bride-thing, grief

and joy thrashing in me like sumo wrestlers.

There we are, all layers of time

licensed to be here, and I am the smoke

of the speed of the rewind, in my smoky

blue dress among the calla lilies

and candles, and you a grand beaded

snowy island, a bell-voice at the microphone,

thanking us all, in general, and then I’m dancing

and dancing, stricken and turning, turning

my eyes. Imagine if Hades followed Persephone

back into spring and summer, not speaking,

sitting at a side table fingering the stem

of his glass, cupping its bowl, smiling

with his white teeth! Imagine if Rousseau

got up to speak of the goodness of the human heart,

and yours still bloody, the sweet smell

of a gardenia loud as a band

playing just under your chin.

from No Need of SympathyFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Fleda Brown Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.