creative ramblings & reverie

Friday, June 25, 2010

His Sister's Wedding

We drive all night from Stanford

to his sister’s wedding, with

Old Black Joe the labrador between us,

a tuxedo and a pine tree in the back.

We stop at daybreak on the beach

at Mendocino, where the two of them

(and Joe) rented the house one year—

convalescing and chain-smoking, fighting

the wind and screaming at each other

from the rocks; reading aloud from Poe

long nights and drinking so much gin

from Grandmama’s bone china teacups—

after her lover’s suicide that summer

in an L.A. canyon (selfish to the end,

he took the yellow Fiat with him).

We buy thick coffee, fried potatoes, clams.

In a public beachhouse, wet from swimmers

of the day before, we change clothes for

the wedding; and, still yawning, we emerge

as fresh as laundry into the young day.

As we drive on he tells me of when they and

puppy Joe played football in the street

and cards under the sheets by flashlight;

how he watched, not breathing,

from the curtain shadows, her first kiss.

Juliet in the highschool play—he fell

in love again; Lady Macbeth—he hated her

(“why did you have to do that, anyway?”).

He bought her a purple Italian ice; lost her to

a real Italian with thirty-three hectares of

stony vineyard in Apulia.

He slayed her dragons, fought off indians

from the pine-tree fort, flourishing

his long tin-foil sword; he filled her lap

with streams of colored marble jewels

and stolen roses from next door.

For wedding presents we bring Joe,

Napa champagne, a pine tree in a bucket—

when it grows fine and fat he says

she can lie hidden in its dappled arms,

held there as safe as childhood from

the dragons, indians, phantom lovers.

—Christie (1982)

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