Wednesday, April 04, 2012

undertaking this impossible task

© Amber Schley Iragui 2011

M A R R I A G E   S O N G
by Tony Hoagland

God said (and already you can tell
I'm making this up),

Let this woman and this man
Be joined together

In front of the sea and the grass
And the trees who don't care

He said, Let them make
A gate in themselves

Through which the other can pass
And may the gate never be closed

So they can feel the truth of being entered

And the loneliness of being
Imperfectly misunderstood--

Now go, God said,
Into the country of love

Change it with your experiments
Don't be intimidated  Enjoy your skin

Impress me
Make something grow

For your bravery merely in undertaking
This impossible task

I make you a special loan called Time
No, don't bother to thank me now --

You can pay me back as you go

published in the Sun Magazine
April 2012, Issue 463

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I just walked past the kids room. They were playing music and dancing. Ike informed Genevieve that he was dancing and she wasn't--even though any observer would say that she was bouncing almost rhythmically while he was mostly careening wildly. A few minutes later a chorus went up, "We like chocolate! We like chocolate with everything! We like dinosaures!" (yes, dinosaurs in French). Then there was a crash and a wail.

The country of love, as I know it, has primarily consisted of these two growing things. There wasn't much time here--months really--before Isaiah arrived to narrate. OK, there was one quick overnight stay at the Soho Grand when Ike was one and a half. That was a nice, er, second. But lately I've been scheming to get away, just the two of us, if it only means being imperfectly misunderstood without a toddler walking in the middle of it. The special loan called Time is ticking. Not like I'm going to die tomorrow, but realistically, middle age is upon us (Charles is already there). I'd like a little romance in what's left of my thirties. To carve out a place for us, an us that is only two, in the leisure of a quiet room, in the empty space of hours unpunctuated by naps, whines, and incessant requests for chocolate. Maybe I just want to sleep in.

This is a brave and impossible task: to open myself to this man I'm married to, the generous father of my two children, who often seem the polar opposite of myself. To care deeply for a man who thinks about our budget, the country's budget, and what the president is doing (I couldn't care less). To love someone who moves quickly from place to place, with a smile on his face, and who will argue endlessly with anyone. Someone who eats Fritos, and offers them to my children. This person I really hardly knew when I married him, who has given me so much, who has listened to me cry, talks with me for hours, who puts our children to bed each night and takes them to museums on Saturdays. This person who drives me literally crazy because he always has to find the exception to the rule, the flaw in the argument, the opposing point of view. My God, I just want him to agree with me! Impossible, beautiful, this task. Paying our way, our thanks to God, as we go.

p o e t r y   w e d n e s d a y  }

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