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