Etched


Fifteen years ago, she woke up and wore white
All was ready: the pastor, the cake, the dress
The girl who never wanted to have children
Would say “I do” to an overgrown boy. Love!
Sometimes it blinds us to the worst in others
Gone bad, held captive, we forget how to smile

Etched on my memory: her red hair, her smile
My tux black, my vest silver, my shirt starched white
I stood with her, and with him, before others
A night spent chasing every other dress
With Bacardi, and falling deeply in love
With anyone! Such is the way of children

I got drunk; he got high, we were all children
I brought the music to make the people smile
He asked me to pray, and I did so with love
I think I spilled yellow beer on my starched white
I never knew how to act when “properly” dressed
Or in any attire in room full of others

She wasn’t my first crush, so many others!
Before, after, such is the way of children
It used to be any pretty face with a dress
Or many a chiseled face, with a handsome smile
I always mistook exposure of pearly whites
Or crooked yellows for an open heart, or love

A year, and three weddings later, I found love
I cried that day, more than all of the others
Yes, even more than the veiled woman in white
We had a plan, we made a life, we had children
Thirteen years, I watched the fading of her smile
We inflicted wounds no god or shrink could dress

Slow change of heart, a sudden change of address
An old friend with the most familial of love
Picked me up, made me remember how to smile
But was I what she had known in the other?
Another boy, surrounding himself with children?
Or worse, like an old sweater, washed with the whites?

Break the familiar! She was not like the others
Love scattered, like adults throw candy at children
Etched on my heart: her red hair, her smile, her black dress

————
Another one for National poetry month. This is a sestina. Sestinas are one of my absolute favorite forms of poetry. This is the third one I have ever written.

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