Bride of the New Dawn

By Laura Mullen Laura Mullen
She appears to be recognized as herself and not herself, new because endlessly recycled, not what she was but not what she will be—see? Not married and not not married, the processional’s a ritual meant to extend a magical present, until the head of this pin is the size of a rented hall and all of us angels stepping out on the long blank train of her on-going gown. To go in single and come married out is easy enough, what matters is to enlarge the interstitial, to live as long as we can in the not exactly no longer and the not quite not yet also. Where organ music drowns the ill-digested vows and the empty stomach growls. Hesitant. The BND goes down slow as a pill we can’t really swallow, stuck chunk in a stalled gulp between yesterday and tomorrow, at one and the same time belated and punctual. It’s the system itself we’ve come to see (open the plug of that rubber-edged rose window), not me and not you, but we: the marriage of church and state made visible, audible, available. Here Dearly Beloved’s an embarrassing gurgle, and the costly gown so much densely crumpled bathroom tissue backing up one overworked way in and out of the usual world. From the mouth to points South, scrawl that in soap on the vehicle? From “will you?” to “why don’t you ever?” on the march to “irreconcilable.” Hey—whoa! Away with you hand-wringing nay sayers: be here now now now now…. Cheeks are flushed and eyes overflow as we grasp her new handle, here to hear the I do as a couple of hard blows: that flesh-blunted sound of bone on bone dislodging as cough a caught morsel not thoroughly chewed. Back out, back up, quagmire, circle: proposed solutions involve the usual budget expansions, extended tours of duty, and additional troops.

Laura Mullen, "Bride of the New Dawn" from Enduring Freedom. Copyright © 2012 by Laura Mullen.  Reprinted by permission of Otis Books / Seismicity Editions.

Source: Enduring Freedom (Otis Books / Seismicity Editions, 2012)

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Poet Laura Mullen

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Prose Poem


Poet Laura Mullen was born in Los Angeles in 1958. She earned her BA at the University of California-Berkeley and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her collections of poetry include Enduring Freedom (2012), Dark Archive (2011), Murmur (2007), Subject (2005), After I Was Dead (1999), The Tales of Horror (1999), and The Surface (1991), which was a National Poetry Series selection. Known for writing book-length and hybrid texts, . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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