On the Months I’ve Been Engaged

This is a poem I wrote for Cat before we got married last Saturday. I read it last Friday for our rehearsal dinner. 

 

On the Months I’ve Been Engaged

 

First there were the stress marks

you could see them on my lungs

unclear as to whether you’d answer yes

or no

in definitive fashion

 

I threw up blood you know

gave myself an ulcer

I did it all for you…

Baby.

 

Then, there was Bend

full of pine trees and snow

pine tress and snow

like Bend does best

 

There was the one knee dip, the wine on top of mountaintops

The music, the silly little piece of metal I slipped upon your finger petals.

 

There were trumpets

Not literal trumpets

But celebration

An end to all this unnecessary anticipation

And God declared that it was good.

 

But in the beginning there was death.

Ugly, cold, miserable death

I’m deeming two thousand and twelve the year of death

 

 

So much for spring, the lighter things

new beginnings

the singing of the robin in the windowpanes

 

What is new?

There is….

nothing new

nothing new

there is nothing new

under the sun.

 

We awoke to a robin heralding a return

to grim reaper winter

 

but we pressed on,

through Michigan and beyond

 

We had our nights

I collected your tears in a

vase I kept around my heart

 

Sometimes I caused them tears

–I never wanted to

 

 

My heart wore the smell of used cigarettes

And bourbon vignettes

 

I never was a sanctuary

            —you loved me anyway

 

 

There was your father,

dementia ridden and confused

shipped to Salt Lake in a late-night fright van

by a man who played saxophone in an Atlanta band

 

We read your father baseball books

Fed him pureed vegetables and mashed potatoes

Asked for a straw so he could sip his orange juice

Told him the walls were not closing in,

Not yet, we said

Not yet at least

 

We pressed on,

we did

through relational conflict,

personality conflict

love language conflict

external hard drive, existential supernatural theological conflict

 

We pressed through the sludge of it all

like a French press with an American attitude

Ikea fights included

 

We stopped at dusk

 to press into each other

Late-night make-out nights

We really pressed on those

(with our bodies, I mean)

 

We got an apartment on Fourth North

Cute and small like the both of us

in all this terrible mess of a world

 

We had to replace an oven,

 A sinner of a refrigerator

We had to navigate the cluster cuss of

Internet wireless providers

An hour and twenty minutes on the phone with century link

Can lead a man like me

to a serious desire to smash everything within his sight.

Especially dressers,

 I have disturbing visions of smashing dressers…

 

We had bed bugs even,

Freaking bed bugs.

After all of this

 

But we freaking killed them all.

We killed them all

At least we hope,

I sprayed enough chemicals to make

Chernobyl look like Disneyland

 

But we made it.

To Mordor and back again

We have stared Voldemort himself in the face

Snake eyes and all

We are the gold through which fire purifies

the tired blood anesthetized

 

I love you Cat, like Ron Weasley loves Hermione Granger

Like Harry loves Ginny

I love you like slow music on late night lit Parisian avenues

 

You are the dusk on a summer evening

Shooting through dilapidated oak trees branches

Shiny, shimmering, and perfectly golden

You are the billows of an autumn breeze

You are the smoke upon the winter trees

 

We know there are still precipices

with dark mouths

awaiting to swallow us

But we are not afraid

We are not afraid

 

 

I have a ring for you,

A silly little piece of metal to slip upon you finger petals

 

I have a vase of tears around my heart

But when I look again

They have turned to prism window chimes

Tuned to the key

 of my best friend.

 

 

 

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One thought on “On the Months I’ve Been Engaged

  1. cat rogers says:

    i have an incredible husband

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