I Marry

I marry a column of air.
I marry my own
freedom, and at the altar
it and I merely brush
knuckles. I marry time
and march to the dais,
one forward step
as each second
ticks. I marry sex
and refuse to care who
steps into its body
as man after man
does. I marry a cat
or an impulse
like one, reclining
alone in darkness,
waking to its warm
breathing. I marry hot
liquid in winter,
curving around
the mug of it, and
in summer, the cold
grip of a plastic bottle
tipped over my lips.
I marry the silk
pucker of a coffin
lining, then file
for divorce and give
myself wholly to
well-fitting cotton
underwear and socks,
and am, for once,
convincingly held.
The man gets down
on one knee and raises
a small velvet box
into a wind that lifts it
from his fingers,
funneling it up
to the charcoal sky. 

 
 

Bachelor

You’ve got your pearls, your Barbara-Bush perfect
tight to the neck. Bully for you.

My strand’s mismatched, mostly plastic,

with a few wooden ones in there. Also two pieces

of popcorn which happened to fill in
dead space. My point is continuity;

my point is time—yours, mine,

so long as we have it, will be filled.

As in: a design magazine picturing an elegant
dinner table, each place setting

a different china pattern. A coordinated
cacophony—not a cacophony—just

a wildness, a bourgeoisie jazz. Except
not, in action, much like that

at my house. Say cracked, say plastic, and one
of those flat camping plates—a blue

enamel over (is it?) tin. My point’s a rope
bridge, or swinging rope you cling to,

the thickest knot with your tightened thighs.
That, too, will bring you over the chasm

of time a life is. Even if you don’t want it to,
something swings you across.

Invite me to your wedding. I’ll join the throng
reaching up for your backwards-

arced gardenias. But don’t
    
think I wouldn’t just as well gather

dandelions at the courtyard rim. Or live
vows diffuse and inflicted

for hour-long intervals. Or take
    
and take until, a mystery of receiving,

my arms flap out butterfly wings. Say rather
I knew my part

in parting, and had my wedding

grain by grain, the bouquet a scattering

of wildflowers by a highway.
 

Benjamin S. Grossberg

BENJAMIN S. GROSSBERG is Director of Creative Writing at the University of Hartford.His books include SPACE TRAVELER (University of Tampa, 2014) and SWEET CORE ORCHARD (University of Tampa, 2009), winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award.

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