In Chagall’s painting, The Wedding, reproduced in glass
and hanging from my bedroom window, the bouquet rises
like the moon in full blossom—all white daisies
and purple stocks— behind the bride’s pink gown,
her simple veil, the groom’s orange-checkered trousers.
His arms wrap tightly, protective around her shoulders
as they ride sidesaddle on the white rooster,
big as a horse, that carries them into their future.
When night descends outside my window, night falls
within the glass-enamel picture, and the couple weds
in darkness, under the silence of stars, in secret,
stealing, without fanfare, past the sleeping Russian village.
But when my sun rises, so too are the couple bathed
in light, and they are different now in a swirl of colour
and celebration, the rooster with a dance in his step,
the village awash with good tidings. I know now
it is meant for each of us, this one day to celebrate love,
the simple good luck of finding one another. I embrace
the cheers from the street, simple veil, being wrapped
in the arms of the one I love, crescent moon, rising sun
and the sweet, feathery comfort of a big white rooster
carrying us away.
Hayley Mitchell Haugen
This poem originally appeared in the poet's collection, Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag Publishing Company.
Hayley Mitchell Haugen holds a Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature from Ohio University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Ohio University Southern, where she teaches courses in composition, American literature, and creative writing. Her chapbookWhat the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To appears from Finishing Line Press (2016), and poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Rattle, Slant, Spillway, Chiron Review, and many other journals. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag Publishing Company (2018) is her first full-length collection. She edits Sheila-Na-Gig online: https://sheilanagigblog.com/ and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.
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