Epithalament

By Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970 Brenda Shaughnessy
Other weddings are so shrewd on the sofa, short
and baffled, bassett-legged. All things

knuckled, I have no winter left, in my sore rememory,
to melt down for drinking water. Shrunk down.

Your wedding slides the way wiry dark hairs do, down
a swimming pool drain. So I am drained.

Sincerely. I wish you every chapped bird on this
pilgrimage to hold your hem up from the dust.

Dust is plural: infinite dust. I will sink in the sun,
I will crawl towards the heavy drawing

and design the curtains in the room
of never marrying you. Because it is a sinking,

because today’s perfect weather is a later life’s
smut. This soiled future unplans love.

I keep unplanning the same Sunday. Leg
and flower, breeze and terrier, I have no garden

and couldn’t be happier. Please, don’t lose me
here. I am sorry my clutch is all

tendon and no discipline: the heart is a severed
kind of muscle and alone.

I can hear yours in your room. I hear mine
in another room. In another’s.

Brenda Shaughnessy, “Epithalament” from Interior with Sudden Joy. Copyright © 1999 by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999)

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Poet Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Unrequited Love

 Brenda  Shaughnessy

Biography

Brenda Shaughnessy earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Our Andromeda (2012). Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, among other places. With C.J. Evans, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Unrequited Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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