The First Marriage

Peter Meinke
for Gretchen and Herb: June 15, 1991


imagine the very first marriage a girl
and boy trembling with some inchoate
need for ceremony a desire for witness:
inventing formality like a wheel or a hoe

in a lost language in a clearing too far from here
a prophet or a prophetess intoned to the lovers
who knelt with their hearts cresting
like the unnamed ocean thinking This is true

thinking they will never be alone again
though planets slip their tracks and fish
desert the sea repeating those magic sounds
meaning I do on this stone below
this tree before these friends yes in body
and word my darkdream my sunsong yes I do I do

Copyright © 1996 by Peter Meinke. From Scars by Peter Meinke. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Peter Meinke

by this poet

poem

We shouldn’t worship suffering: the world’s
a spinning rack where suffering indicates
all goes well we’re alive and not curled
up in the black hushhush death dictates
as its first condition: no screaming there

We crown ourselves with thorns of past
transgressions Sharp spears of deed