Poem: "On Marriage"

So lately come to it, it troubles me
when someone speaks of “marriage” as a thing
apart, abstract; some alien entity —
a separable prefix, a gold ring —

And when I hear “a marriage on the rocks”
(I’m sorry but) I cannot help but see
some murky, over-complicated cocktail
whose bitters have obscured all trace of sweet.

“How goes the marriage?” “It goes swimmingly,”
I answer, thinking, “You should ask a fish
to talk about her feelings for the sea,
the muscling of ebbs and flows, the shifts
in temperature, degrees of salt and sweet;
how, if removed from it, she couldn’t breathe.”

                                                   —  Moira Egan ’92SOA

Egan has published four poetry collections. Her fifth, Hot Flash Sonnets, will be published this spring. She lives in Rome.