In Praise of Their Divorce
And when I heard about the divorce of my friends,
I couldn't help but be proud of them,
that man and that woman setting off in different directions,
like pilgrims in a proverb
—him to buy his very own toaster oven,
her seeking a prescription for sleeping pills.
Let us keep in mind the hidden forces
which had struggled underground for years
to push their way to the surface—and that finally did,
cracking the crust, moving the plates of earth apart,
releasing the pent-up energy required
for them to rent their own apartments,
for her to join the softball league for single mothers
for him to read George the Giraffe over his speakerphone
at bedtime to the six-year-old.
The bible says, Be fruitful and multiply
but is it not also fruitful to subtract and to divide?
Because if marriage is a kind of womb,
divorce is the being born again;
alimony is the placenta one of them will eat;
loneliness is the name of the wet-nurse;
regret is the elementary school;
endurance is the graduation.
So do not say that they are splattered like dropped lasagna
or dead in the head-on collision of clichés
or nailed on the cross of their competing narratives.
What is taken apart is not utterly demolished.
It is like a great mysterious egg in Kansas
that has cracked and hatched two big bewildered birds.
It is two spaceships coming out of retirement,
flying away from their dead world,
the burning booster rocket of divorce
falling off behind them,
the bystanders pointing at the sky and saying, Look.
From Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty. Copyright © 2010 by Tony Hoagland. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.
Born on November 19, 1953, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Tony Hoagland
Date Published: 2010-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/praise-their-divorce