Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Marriage We Carried in Our Pockets

Or sometimes watched drifting with the leaves,
some last confetti of yellow or brown. Or it existed

the way the juncos huddled beneath the thistle
feeder in winter, in the way the clouds spilled water

in May to soak the ground. Once we found it
in the attic in a steamer trunk, and another time

we closed it in a suitcase and drove it across
the countryside to Ohio. And often we imagined that

the years were a locked door against which
we kept knocking to be admitted. And on the dresser

of the new house, I spilled the change of the marriage
into a heap, and later we sat on the back porch and watched

the nuptial clouds on their conveyor belts. And we slept
at night with the breaths of the marriage around us.


Copyright © 2018 Doug Ramspeck. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.


Doug Ramspeck

Doug Ramspeck is the author of Black Flowers (LSU Press, 2018); Original Bodies (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2014), winner of the 2013 Michael Waters Poetry Prize; Mechanical Fireflies (Barrow Street Press, 2011), selected by Mary Ruefle for the Barrow Street Press Poetry Book Prize; Possum Nocturne (University of Akron Press, 2010); and Black Tupelo Country (BkMk Press, 2008), winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. He is also the author of a fiction collection, The Owl That Carries Us Away (BkMk Press, 2018), winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. He is a two-time recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and teaches English at The Ohio State University.

Date Published: 2018-11-12

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