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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 19, 2018.
About this Poem 
“Marriage can be difficult; it can change us. Sometimes, though, this change, this bringing together of two separate entities, can be beautiful, much like a compound word. We know the moon, yes, and that it shines, yes, but moonshine is something else entirely. And butter we know, and flies, but butterflies are different. I wanted to play with these compounds, but, ultimately, I wanted to affirm the notion of the individual, the one who has the choice to say, ‘I do,’ and does.”
—Nicole Callihan
 

Marriage

& of the lattermath I can only say 
that with the rain the cattails grew so high 
that the longing nearly subsided
this morning I am all moonshine on the snowbank
clockwise back to a better self I am
tenderfoot daisywheel though yesterday I was
warpath and daydreams of underfoot animals
o my fishhook in sheepskin I want
to spacewalk in time with you to teaspoon
sugar into your mouth to clean horsehairs
from under your fingernails honeymoon
of the longhouse I’ll meet you on the shadyside
of the limestone for years I grew lukewarm
with a backache but now I am whitefish
and blackberries I am forbearer and undercurrent
buttermilk and motherhood watertight thunderbird
forgive me my wipeout my deadend and foremost
forgive me my butterball my washrag wrung out
the grasslands of the graveyard I nearly misrecognized
what I almost became eggshell watercolor
drained pipe goodbye o my forever bedclothes
yours is the body warmblooded washbowl
that I seahorse into night after night and the dogwood
timepiece ticks the gumball fruitcup earache of our girls 
you my wavelength my tailbone lemonlime jellybean
crewcut backstroke beachcomber I do I do

Copyright © 2018 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Nicole Callihan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Nicole Callihan. Photo credit: Amanda Field.

Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan is author of Translucence, co-written with Samar Abdel Jaber (Indolent Books, 2018).

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For hours, the flowers were enough.
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Before Adam, just being a rib was enough.
Just being inside Adam’s body, near his heart, enough.
Enough to be so near his heart, enough
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I walked to the end of the pier
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and when you flew back to me—
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cleaned you to the bone. I was through.
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skimmed my hands over the light of you.
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2
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My mother says the sound haunted her.
She thought an animal had crawled under her bed
and that it was hurt. Every night for a week,
the whimpering woke her. Mornings, she reached the long hand
of the broom underneath the dust ruffle but it came out clean.
The pillow where her head had