A Marriage

Theirs was the one with the noisy bedsprings.          
How does a child solve a riddle like that?
Scritchity-screech                                    
—are they fighting again?  
                                     
Theirs was a marriage of drums and cymbals,                      
a clashing-and-carping, nagging-and-clamoring                                  
performed day in, day out.                                               

Your mother wanted me dead or alive.  
His story of the year they met, retold           
in the cancer ward. He was teasing her. 
She was laughing too! And I looked away
as if I'd caught them in the act.
                                                                                                 
Out in the corridor she outdid his story:                               
“Daddy wanted to make love.       
I told him, But honey, your back!
You know what your father answered?                                              
There's nothing wrong with my front.”

I watched her shave him in the hospital bed.
She was so tender it left me confused
—one hand cupped to his chin, the other

stroking his cheek with the razor.   

-- first published (as “Bedsprings”) in Prairie Schooner

listen Listen to Chana Bloch reading "A Marriage"