How To Stay Married


The perfect marriage is, they say,

a blind woman married to a deaf man.

Or is it a deaf woman married to

a blind man? Failing to achieve

these physical variations,

it is helpful to think

of marriage as ocean waves—

swelling, breaking, sucking, forever

pounding and returning.


With what authority do I speak?

My dossier lists Katrinka von Brioche,

25 years with the same man!  Not one year

all voluptuous or all gritty.

Doesn’t marriage flow? In and around

two people? Observe tranquil ripples,

later choppy whitecaps, also gale force

winds with tempestuous seas,

detritus from yachts, pollution

from toxic dumps.


Learn to float, practice subterfuges,

expect repetition. All step-by-step

guide books are an insult. You must be

lucky or slow-witted. You must

want a shared history of beds,

a trousseau of disguises, a growing

knowledge of diplomatic strategies.

You must buy ear plugs or

opera glasses or funny hats.


After a while, you must be

a boat, or parts of a boat—

yesterday the rusty scupper,

today gunwales, tomorrow ballast

and bailing buckets. You must

be a motor, a sail, a paddle.

It’s helpful to enjoy the view.

It’s helpful not to think

about the lack of life preservers.


                        --Karen Braucher

                        from Aqua Curves (copyright 2005),

                        first published in the journal Manzanita Quarterly



Site contents copyright (c) 1997-2008 by Karen Braucher.  All rights reserved. 

Contact the author for more information.

Back to Portfolio of Poems