Beware of all enterprises that
require a new set of clothes
–Henry David Thoreau
Above my desk the fifteenth century Bridal Pair
by an unknown German master renders marriage
as a forest. Trees as backdrop,
muguet and mushrooms have sprung from the duff
the couple stands in, their careful carriage
three quarters’ turn, turned in to each other,
dressed in the same two colors, coral and cream,
holding jointly a forget-me-not.
Our wedding was to be so casual, I’m amazed now
at the likeness. We posed, too,
looking out a window, sun beaming in
from the future or wherever George and his camera
meant all that looked-at to be.
From a parking lot, I joke, but you who know
East say it’s the lawn. We both know
the blurred canvas at our back depicts
the Great American West, gift from an art alum
to the history class we used as a dressing room.
If we hadn’t wed at school, if not for the ceremony
to come, we’d never have stood still for this,
you decked in a 1947 black jacket,
me in pearls, my mom’s post-World War II dress—
but now I think of it, we did choose this way,
to go on casually looking so formally together,
with buffaloes stumbling around behind us,
all the available light we could muster on our side.
Diane Kendig, who has worked as a poet, writer, translator and teacher for over 40 years, is the author of five poetry collections, including the forthcoming Prison Terms and the editor of In the Company of Russell Atkins (2016). A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and a Fulbright Lectureship in translation, she has published widely in literary journals, most recently J Journal, Wordgathering, and Ekphrasis. She blogs at “Diane Kendig: Home Again.”