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.
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