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Alison Luterman: A Woman Speaks of Marriages

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.

5 comments on “Alison Luterman: A Woman Speaks of Marriages

  1. Susan Phair Beneville
    March 23, 2022

    Wow. I can feel each of those descriptions – gripping, hard, and true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maureen McGahey
    March 23, 2022

    Amazing Alision……….makes me ponder how i would describe the marriages i have known. Asante sana!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    March 23, 2022

    Insight snd beauty. A wonderful poem

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth Peyton
    March 23, 2022

    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.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Diana Adams
    March 23, 2022

    Stunning poem! Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2022 by in Health and Nutrition, Most Popular, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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