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. lceel says:

    Yup. That’s exactly what it’s like. Cool. I’ve never read Blu­men­thal, but I just may have to.

  2. 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.

  3. Sam Chupp says:

    I love that, honey, thank you.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!