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I’ve known marriages like Niagaras, that splashed and thundered,
whose couples careened down them bravely, wearing only barrels.
And marriages that were clown cars,
discharging more characters than anyone could count,
as well as marriages that were leaky canoes, that had to be abandoned
halfway through the journey, as each rower
grasped frantically at bushes and trees, in a mad scramble to escape.
I’ve known marriages that were passports to foreign countries,
while others were work visas, good for only a year or two.
And marriages like steel-jawed traps,
where a wife–it was almost always a wife–
had to gnaw off a limb to escape.
I’ve known enviable marriages that glittered like disco balls
only to be revealed as cheap plastic in the harsh light of morning,
and marriages like super novas that flamed brightly before collapsing.
I’ve known the simplicity of two friends wandering over mountain trails
that dipped and ascended in long purple twilight,
and the chill of marriage on the tundra, one traveler far ahead,
disappearing into white-out blizzard,
while the other trudged behind, roped to the sledge.
I’ve known marriages that seemed solid as mid-winter ice,
only to crack and melt as seasons changed. And marriages
like long persistent rivers that split rocks
and carved new channels out of stubborn sediment,
and kept branching and flowing,
even as death bore one of the lovers away.
Copyright 2020 Alison Luterman. From In the Time of Great Fires by Alison Luterman (Catamaran 2020).
Alison Luterman is a poet, essayist and playwright. She lives in Oakland, California.
Wow. I can feel each of those descriptions – gripping, hard, and true.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Amazing Alision……….makes me ponder how i would describe the marriages i have known. Asante sana!
Insight snd beauty. A wonderful poem
Very beautiful. So many people and marriages (including my own) ran through my mind as I was reading. The metaphors are very powerful, very illustrative.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Stunning poem! Thank you
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