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Poetry: Michael Blumenthal

For my Sam

A Marriage
You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.

But then,
unexpectedly,
something wonderful happens:
Someone,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arm up
to the ceiling beside you.

So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.

From Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blumenthal, Penguin Books, 1988

5 comments

  1. Hope says:

    I read Against Romance a while back, at my roommate’s suggestion. It’s good stuff, and I really like that one in particular.

  2. cyn says:

    Hope, have you read Days We Would Rather Know? Let me know if you want me to send it to you 🙂 I think I found Blumenthal and Leslea Newman around the same time, thanks to a bookstore (Oxford) that I still miss terribly even though it’s been years and years since it closed. I doubt that there’s a single bibliophile in the area who doesn’t still mourn that one.

  3. Hope says:

    No, I haven’t read it. I would love to borrow it, though. Your timing is excellent, of course 🙂 I just a few minutes ago finished reading Lover’s Credo by Corliss Lamont. The entire book is online, and well worth reading.

    I don’t think I’ve read any Leslea Newman yet – I’ll have to keep an eye out for her work.

    A good bookstore is a beautiful thing, and the lack of one is definitely worth mourning!

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