Wedding Portrait

By David Dominguez b. 1971 David Dominguez
Yesterday afternoon, I hung a framed print in the living room—
a task that took two head-throbbing hours.
It’s a wedding portrait that we love: Frida and Diego Rivera.
I wonder how two people could consistently hurt each other,
but still feel love so deeply as their bones turned into dust?
Before Frida died, she painted a watermelon still life;
before his death, Diego did too.
I want to believe that those paintings were composed
during parallel moments because of their undying devotion.
If I close my eyes, I can see melon wedges left like
centerpieces except for the slice
Diego put on the table’s corner—
one piece of fruit pecked at by a dove
that passed through a window.
I know that I won’t be building a bookshelf anytime soon
and that the chances of me constructing a roll-top desk
are as slim as me building an Adirondack chair that sits plumb,
but I’m good with the spackle and putty knives in my tool belt.
The knots in my back might not be there
if I had listened to her suggestions,
and I could well have done without two hours of silence
over a few holes in the wall.
But somehow, life has its ways of working things out.
This afternoon, I shut the blinds,
turned off the TV, lights, and phone,
and massaged my wife’s feet to fight off a migraine—
her second one this week despite
the prophylactics and pain killers that we store in the breadbox.
For once, I’d like to experience what she feels:
nausea, blindness, and pain that strike
when the cranial vessels dilate,
fill with blood, leak, and make the brain swell.
Earlier, an MRI triggered the reaction as it mapped her head
with electrical current, gradient magnets, and radio waves
hammering her floundering eyes.
For now, we have our room, the bed frame, and the mattress
where she lies as I knead her toes.
Come nightfall, I hope that we’ll sit in the patio and watch
the breeze stirring the lemon, lime, and orange trees
that I planted along the back fence.
On certain nights, the moon turns our lawn
into green acrylic where we sip Syrah and mint tea
until all we know is the sound
of our breathing among the whispering leaves.

David Dominguez, “Wedding Portrait” from The Ghost of Cesar Chavez. Copyright © 2010 by David Dominguez.  Reprinted by permission of C&R Press.

Source: The Ghost of Caesar Chavez: Poems (C&R Press, 2010)

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Poet David Dominguez b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, The Mind, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Home Life, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet David Dominguez earned a BA in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. He is the author of the collections Marcoli Sausage (2000), published in Gary Soto’s Chicano Chapbook Series; Work Done Right (2003); and The Ghost of César Chávez (2010).
 
A resident of California’s Central Valley, Dominguez writes poetry that reflects life in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, The Body, The Mind, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Relationships, Home Life, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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