Snapshots of My Marriage

Looking through the faded scrapbook
Of the time when my name was “John,”
My adult son said:
“Mom was hot stuff.”

I peered over his shoulder at the young Edie,
When that was her name.
The trim, buoyant figure
Brown red hair to the middle of her back
Mini-skirt of the day accenting
The seductions of her bold body,
Indifferent to the responses of others.

I remember when I snapped it,
Already guessing the pictures to come.
Savoring what could be
While recording what was.

Peanut butter sandwich
Rain ponchoed back against
The beached canoe.

Face flushed with
Fury at a passing

Baby over the shoulder,
Magnanimously ignoring
Brown vomit stains.

Art for the walls,
Art for the stairs
Her art everywhere

Paint brushes in the fridge,
Wire dolls in the corner
A hobo sign on the cornice.

Smudged in the garden,
Sweaty trowel hanging
From baggy jeans.

Ten neighborhood women,
Forty candles and a fire in the pit,
Back yard Wicca for no particular occassion.

My clothes returned,
My life reordered,
To places not of my deciding.

My somber face
Her perpetual smile

Decade by decade
The figures grow older
Silhouettes rounder

Energy grayer
Side by side
Volume by volume

Imagination unreeled these pictures
When she was twenty-five
Demanding that we begin the album.

And now
Memory recalls
The predicted moments.

While recording what is,
I see again what was.

At the breakfast table
In unkempt loveliness
She shimmers with the indelible past,

Before “John” and “Edie”
Were each half a name.
Incomplete without the other.