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Lexington Poetry Month

First Marriage


There’s a lilt
like an orchid bloom
when I think of him. That was romance
at 19. That was the one-bedroom

walk-up, first-time sex in a Nashville
furnished room. Was it a lie
to say vows in red
velvet and Venetian lace? Say yes

while still dusted by guilt
of crucifix & for our parents
sake? We had no skills
or balance & Vietnam

threatened—a cobra
coiled in a basket. Years pass
like torrents of mud. I don’t
regret the blunders of young

adulthood, false steps, or lost
vows.  I’ll bear a relationship,
however hapless or brief, that tethers,
to orchid or root. If I am a many

colored bolt you are an intermittent
accent of blue. Bespangling
my canvas, you are almost swallowed
by my red & purple, my Van Gogh

patterns of yellow. I conjure
you a few times a year & I usually
smile, not because I want you back
but because we happened at all.

4 responses to “First Marriage”

  1. I really enjoy how you structured this, as well as the call back to orchids from beginning to mid-end of the poem.

  2. Jennifer Burchett says:

    “a cobra coiled in a basket”

    I will have to fight myself not to steal that. So good!

  3. Shaun Turner says:

    There’s so much good compressed here. My favorite part is:


    threatened—a cobra
    coiled in a basket.”

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