My mother was married by the water.
She wore a gray coat and a winter rose.
She said her vows beside a cold seam of the Irish coast.
She said her vows near the shore where
the emigrants set down their consonantal n:
on afternoon, on the end of everything, at the start of ever.
Yellow vestments took in light.
A chalice hid underneath its veil.
Her hands were full of calla and cold-weather lilies.
The mail packet dropped anchor.
A black-headed gull swerved across the harbor.
Icy promises rose beside a crosshatch of ocean and horizon.
I am waiting for the words of the service. I am waiting for
keep thee only and all my earthly.
All I hear is an afternoon’s worth of never.