Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our supper is plain but we are very wonderful

At my wedding, at the beautiful, center hall Creole cottage in Treme that we were lucky enough to live in when we moved to New Orleans, my friend read a poem by Kenneth Patchen that summed up some of what I hoped for from marriage, things which I had felt in the years with my wife that preceded our wedding, that provoked our engagement.

In the years since, when I struggled to come home and forget the troubles of daily life - work, the day's news, storms, violence - I would try to remember, "We are shut in, secure for a little, safe until tomorrow," savor this. Sometimes it worked.

23rd Street Runs into Heaven
Kenneth Patchen

You stand near the window as lights wink
On along the street. Somewhere a trolley, taking
Shop-girls and clerks home, clatters through
This before-supper Sabbath. An alley cat cries
To find the garbage cans sealed; newsboys
Begin their murder-into-pennies round.

We are shut in, secure for a little, safe until
Tomorrow. You slip your dress off, roll down
Your stockings, careful against runs. Naked now,
With soft light on soft flesh, you pause
For a moment; turn and face me -
Smile in a way that only women know
Who have lain long with their lover
And are made more virginal.

Our supper is plain but we are very wonderful.

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