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Epithalamium

by Louise Gluck

There were others; their bodiesHillside in Provence, Paul Cezanne
were a preparation.
I have come to see it as that.

As a steam of cries.
So much pain in the world - the formless
grief of the body, whose language
is hunger-

And in the hall, the boxed roses:
what they mean

is chaos. Then begins
the terrible charity of marriage,
husband and wife

climing the green hill in gold light
until there is no hill,
only a flat plain stopped by the sky.

Here is my hand, he said.
But that was long ago.
Here is my hand that will not harm you.