Scenes from an Ideal Marriage
This one, a bluff in autumn:
bloom of sumac and the crushed fruit
of the red chokeberry trailing. Flowers early,
but this more vibrant. That colour that always catches
the eye first, goading, goading, and, also, asks us to stop.
We went headlong down the slope in November,
his assertion as guide: hurtle yourself forward and run
and you won’t fall. Not right away.
Not for years even, maybe.
So, see, we began in the season leading
to decline, to the sleep of the deciduous.
And didn’t think anything of it.
There’s the froth of pink lighter than of the smoke bush
we planted by the first house. And the spill of grey interrupted
by light coming through the window, that butter yellow
one of us doesn’t mind. And just a little bit of blue.
And then here: the space for leaping.
Could be snow, dirty snow. Certainly
more of that than the other of other months –
all those cheerful flowerings, bleh.
Smudge out the rectangle, the box
we kept the letters in. Back when we wrote letters,
the ink a smudge, too.
All that ink, here: the tipped well.
Eventually, you found a pen that wouldn’t bleed,
but only one missive came after.
Since there was no need for the written word
any longer. Across the table we sat from one another,
another rectangle. And the bed with the blue coverlet.
And something like song.
Spring is for rutting. The stamen
dusted and thrusting. And green, really,
for the first time.
That exposed collarbone does something
one of us cannot speak of. Though the other sees
it, too. And gives over to another year, a new year.
Wait. This is the ideal. The gloss.
The wedding toast, vacation pic. The love song
of mid-May one of us once danced to.
Here is spring with its feverish nuptial planning
and the pink of the feathered peony. Also:
the pink of the hydrangea that comes later.
You will stake the tree, but it will lean and topple anyway.
The circus of summer. Riot of growth.
The blasted rose so unlike those she displayed
in bud vases on the shelf, on the windowsill.
Here is purple in swirls, or is it violet, he asks.
Something like the haze that comes over mountains
we once saw from a distance.
And the rectangle now an upright box, maybe
a booth one of us sits in and smiles,
thinking of another.
The wash of water and reach of fern, the fronds
rusting at their tips. And the mum on the doorstep:
that cheap, wedding garnish.
And almost nothing of the empty paper, just the upper
Kelly R. Samuels
Kelly R. Samuels lives in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net (2017), and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including The Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, Heron Tree, and RHINO. She has a chapbook forthcoming in January from Unsolicited Press.
The Ekphrastic Review
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