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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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