Shadow Marriage

At Ken's

At Ken’s

So, our marriage,
which one is the shadow.
Probably the wedding one,
contrived,
planned,
staged.
Minister directing,
family supporting,
You and I the leading roles.
It wasn’t real.
Is that why I cried,
that was not our true beginning,
our true beginning was. . .

Not when we slept together the first time
in Roberts Creek,
your bed.
in my flannel night-gown.
You promising not to touch me
and not touching me
till much later.

Not our first time,
the wrong time for the wrong reason.
It was a sort of giving-in because,
because we were going on a trip together,
staying with your worldly-wise friends.
I didn’t want them to think of me as a prude or something.
I caved into the shadow of my true desire.

Maybe it was the night in the tent at Long Beach.
Emma, the German shepherd, wet and smelly.
We three in a two-man tent,
in a one-man sleeping bag.

“I don’t know how, but we’ll do it,” you said.
We did.
Love kindled into life there.
That’s when we were really married I think.

Our marriage has often felt like
we stayed in that confining tent
with the smelly wet dog
trying to make love in a place too small
to contain it.

It’s been a good marriage
in spite of rain and smells.
We did it. I don’t know how.
Do you.
Must be love.

©2001 Sharron R. McMillan

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