Epithalamium

Carl Adamshick - 1969-

Here you go
light low and long
in the fields
at sunset and sunrise
Everything twice
a doubled existence
two nows
two thens
two names
yours and the other one
also yours
folded into a paper boat
the points of which
constellate stars

More by Carl Adamshick

Our flag

should be green 
to represent an ocean.
It should have two stars 
in the first canton, 
for us and navigation. 
They should be of gold thread, 
placed diagonally, 
and not solid, 
but comprised of lines. 
Our flag should be silky jet. 
It should have a wound,
a red river the sun must ford
when flown at half-mast.
It should have the first letter
of every alphabet ever.
When folded into a triangle
an embroidered eighth note
should rest on top
or an odd-pinnate, 
with an argentine stem, 
a fiery leaf, a small branch 
signifying the impossible song.
Or maybe honey and blue
with a centered white pinion.
Our flag should be a veil
that makes the night weep
when it comes to dance,
a birthday present we open
upon death, the abyss we sleep 
under. Our flag should hold 
failure like light glinting 
in a headdress of water. 
It should hold the moon
as the severed head 
of a white animal
and we should carry it
to hospitals and funerals, 
to police stations and law offices. 
It should live, divided, 
deepening its yellows 
and reds, flaunting itself 
in a dead gray afternoon sky. 
Our flag should be seen
at weddings well after
we've departed.
It should stir in the heat
above the tables and music.
It should watch our friends
join and separate 
and laugh as they go out 
under the clouded night 
for cold air and cigarettes. 
Our flag should sing 
when we cannot,
praise when we cannot,
rejoice when we cannot.
Let it be a reminder.
Let it be the aperture,
the net, the rope of dark stars.
Let it be mathematics.
Let it be the eloquence
of the process shining 
on the page, a beacon 
on the edge of a continent. 
Let its warnings be dismissed. 
Let it be insignificant 
and let its insignificance shine.

Benevolence

We took your food and in a few days 
you'll see we took your excrement.

We've devised such intricate rules. 	

We've agreed, signed papers. We took the papers.

We took your pain, your dignity. 
We took your language and watched 
as religion fell from you.

We took your death,
strung it as a jewel on a silver chain
and showed it to you
as just another thing you don't have. 

The solitude of an apricot

Away from leaf touch, from twig.
Away from the markings and evidence
of others. Beyond the shale night
filling with rain. Beyond the sleepy
origin of sadness. Back, back into
the ingrown room. The place where
everything loved is placed, assembled
for memory. The delicate hold
and tender rearrangement of what is missing,
like certain words, a color reflected off 
water a few years back. Apricots and 
what burns. It has obtained what it is.
Sweet with a stone. Sweet with the
concession of a few statements,
a few lives it will touch without bruising.

Related Poems

The First Marriage

for Gretchen and Herb: June 15, 1991


imagine the very first marriage a girl
and boy trembling with some inchoate
need for ceremony a desire for witness:
inventing formality like a wheel or a hoe

in a lost language in a clearing too far from here
a prophet or a prophetess intoned to the lovers
who knelt with their hearts cresting
like the unnamed ocean thinking This is true

thinking they will never be alone again
though planets slip their tracks and fish
desert the sea repeating those magic sounds
meaning I do on this stone below
this tree before these friends yes in body
and word my darkdream my sunsong yes I do I do