They were not traditionalists.
They could bear the innovations
of plot. They could not
wait to landscape the plot. They had plans
for a bed of pansies because pansies
hardly ever die
in a cold snap,
because pansies are hardy despite the name.
When they shoved the trowel
into the soil
it was with his hand
on the handle and hers adding force.
They knew there were only
nine types of people in the world
and they knew which ones
would close the deal. They knew
the shirkers by sight.
They had options.
They knew about Required Communication.
About how I feel and you feel.
When there was a question
of who did the dishes
and who did the cat box,
it was settled in-house
and never required an outside contractor.
But the pansies got stem spot, leaf rot, and mildew.
When they looked at their options
it seemed there weren’t really that many
They swore to uphold the bonds
and the principles
and the yelling.
They swore to oral sex.
They dressed to the nines and they walked the aisle.
They stood up and received the standard narration.
Rebecca Hazelton, “Vow” from Vow. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Hazelton. Reprinted by permission of Cleveland State University Press Poetry Center.
(Cleveland State University Press Poetry Center, 2013)