Smith Mountain Lake Wedding Getaway Vacation Poem.

Bravanza

I can’t stop thinking about those farms and silos buried
beneath the lake. Rooms full of water, doors swinging
on their hinges with each passing boat above. Never in my life
had I boated to lunch, never floated on a neon noodle
in the summer darklit water watching fireworks break apart
above my head. First I was living inside my life, chucking stems
to the chickens, fetching flowers at dusk, and then I was there:
the lake, a single bed, rooms full of brothers and wives,
a couple to marry, my hand held and adorned with henna,
the screams of cicadas, unceasing. Artists draped in metals
they’d bent into form, hats and towels strewn on the deck
like clothing stripped by lovers. A husband kissed his wife
in water, the raft between them bobbing gently. A woman
with a mohawk danced beside her lady’s braids. A toast was made,
a dream was told, a glass refilled. I was but a single set of legs,
unbuoyed and unburdened, free to roam at will, gently moving
through the spider threads that draped between each couple
in attendance, dewdrops of their pairings landing on my arms,
my ankles. I watched a belly held to feel the kicking; I handed
cups of bubbly to each person in the room, I picked a chigger
off the inside of my toe. I ate the food they fed me, I lingered
on an edge of dock to marvel at the sunlight floating in the water,
I swimmed some laps, I swished the ice cubes in my cocktails,
I wore a skirt and spoke the wedding words in front of everyone,
boats tearing through the water just behind. I watched
the married ones exclaim in summer heat as the shining faces
of their familes encircled them in hugs. In the company
of teachers I talked of names and ways of being; I laughed
with jewelers, I spoke of herbs, I threw away the memory of never
having known these people and gave them all I’d brought.

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We Are Older; We Float, We Sink, We Sleep When We Can (poem) (mine).

We Are Older; We Float, We Sink, We Sleep When We Can

I’m nearly thirty and capable of commanding my body
inside a vehicle. The car and I, we go places together.

I drive south and then west, four hours plus one coffee
stop, to see Scott and his brand new baby. We meet

at a French cafe with “vintage gas station” as its theme.
The baby is strapped away against his chest, silent

and unseeable. We drink white wine and eat Frenchly
-titled meals by the window. Scott covers the baby’s head

with a napkin while he eats, which I both notice
and don’t notice. He is exhausted & he is a father

& I’m so proud of him. He looks natural with a baby.
He looks like someone related to me. Maybe this is why

I love him, or maybe it’s his excellent taste
in wall clocks, or the sandy fields & shifting days

we survived together in laughter. His husband is away
that day, working in the city. When he arrives home,

his face is nearly yellow from exhaustion. I want to feed
them both: applesauce, keffir lime leaves, matzoh ball soup.

At Scott’s birthday dinner party the next evening, there is wine,
deeply chocolate cake, and lentil soup with a pad of floating butter

on top like the raft we each contain inside us, each of us
the fat, the proteins, the flavor, the impending melt.

“My Life as a Minister” (wedding poem) (mine).

My Life as a Minister

(for Kathryn & Andy)

 

To say “You may now kiss the bride”

is a treasure far beyond

most treasures I’ve known.

A treasure of love (my bests,

 

my only kind of treasures),

a treasure built of words (my tools),

a treasure said in public

in the presence of a trove

 

of dearest friends—

a treasure known by all, the words

learned early on, the script, that scripture,

holy words of matrimony, most of which

 

I banished from the ceremony. But not

those words, and not the kiss

which with light within me

I gave permission for.

 

You may now and you may always

and may you for all the days

kiss and kiss and kiss

the bride.

***

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