Why the Marriage Failed
From the beginning it was the money, how we would not or could not make it.
It was never avarice, I resent the implication, it was how much like starlings
children are with those same raggedy screechings and us such languid nest makers:
him with his camera pointed up and me in the chair with the Plath in my lap.
From the beginning it was our innocence, it was our impertinence, it was a bent outhouse
in the dead dead double-dead clot of twisted winter. It was him with the black cloth
over his shoulders and that huge camera for a face and my face also like an infant’s
in the photos he made. It was stupidity and I don’t mind saying it, for we were farcical,
we were illogical, we were like a circle spinning and just that hollow—
we were the fragrance of the idea of the meaning of not. We didn’t want destruction,
we were totally against that, so we made it our philosophy: we sought
a garden of Black-eyed Susans because all we wanted was to frolic
because like everyone else, we just wanted to be happy. But we were too wet,
we were like fog, we were an orchard of water in a cabin, stupor gone amuck.
We’d sit on the porch and look for some fields to farm, but we were too fertile
and didn’t have hoes. We were minus a measuring cup and missing an umbrella
when you two boys got here and that was it, we were history. There were
maybe three candies in our pockets, but we weren’t blank, we were stuffed
from loving you—we’d stare at your craving mini-mouths mid-shriek
and go oh my god how entirely exquisite oh my god what have we done.
The first half of the first line of this poem is from Gerald Stern’s “Cost.”
“Why the Marriage Failed” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Vol. 55, No. 3.