A Poem for Your Wedding

If you’re looking
for the perfect poem
to read at your wedding,
I have some questions for you:
How long have you
known your intended?
Did you meet through friends
or through unexamined
How much time
do you want to spend
reading poems about despair?
How many champagne bottles
have you opened without knowing
they’d already gone bad?
It’s still on the ceiling, isn’t it?
Do you both like music?
How many cooks does it take
to stay silent?
How many beet stains?
Do you like poems
about free-floating
Have you ever been
at one of those weddings
with the pretend scripts?
The pretend cameras?
With the flowers arranged
in alphabetical order?
Do you ever wake up saying
Thank God I don’t
have to change?
Do you ever go to bed
stark, raving relieved?
What happens when
your intended tells you
everything is okay?
Do you ever read poems
to your intended
while he or she is trying
to get to the airport
for a 6 a.m. flight?
Will your wedding include
a page for public feedback?
Does your intended
have opinions about your secrets?
Do you still have monstrous hopes
under your mattress?
What do you expect
your intended to do
about them?
Is there a private signal
the two of you use
to keep the car running?
Do you share bottled waters
and does only one of you
have a basket on your bicycle?
Did you forget to be crabby
when your intended
locked your birthday
in a safe-deposit box?
What kind of poem
helped you forget?

I know this is a lot of questions.
But there are lots of poems
out there.
You can’t be too careful.
Here’s one more:
Do you ever get the feeling
that life is different
together, that it’s now,
that there are more holes
to be worn in that sofa,
that there are sunrises
when you’re weeping,
and sunsets when
you least expect it,
that there are lost calendars
and bruised cupcakes and flat tires,
that these are your new poems,
that these are the stairs
you already climbed,
the library you browsed,
the lightbulbs changed
and true regard returned,
the question you answered
when your heart was chosen
for life, for love, for this?

Front page image from The Jefferson R. Burdick Collection.

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Betsy Brown

About the Author

Betsy Brown is a Minneapolis poet and fiction writer whose book Year of Morphines (LSU Press) was a National Poetry Series winner. She's published poems recently in Antioch Review, Conduit, Diode, H_NGM_N, Prairie Schooner, Waccamaw, and Zocalo Public Square, among other journals.
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