The Beginning IslandSurrender and celebration in equal measure, we married at Tanah Barak to the sound of water falling and Sanskrit on the Hindu priest's lips, faces smiling at us in two languages.
This island, both vast and enclosed, where the scent of nasturtium rose from the edges of rice fields into our bed. Out the window, the half-hidden volcano, a fragment of plenty, like what remains of Sappho.
The second ceremony, in Gloucester on the Atlantic, pulled by family history and seaweed back to childhood when things happened easily. We married in Olson's town, in a circle bordered by rocks, filled with morning light, showing only the way in.
In the round, green spotted rock wet with sea, I felt the sea's breath, its waves and light, the surf's pounding in the palm of my hand, in my skin and heart, like a prayer or a song, the rock's hardness growing in me like someone else's life, mixed with the ancient sweetness of Italian honey, my father-in- law and grandmother dancing.
A friend writes: marriage is moving to another country, a different way of being, another language, another basis of meaning.
I dismantled the singleness of my life, the solitude as I'd known it, breaking up and redefining what I'd named as my own.
Out of sheer repetition of vows and ceremony, we married--ritual
arithmetic of knowing each other, the ways we are written together now.
Issue #3, September, 1998 :
Santa Fe Poetry Broadside.