Friday, October 5, 2012

fairly major life events set into the context of current political affairs with geological metaphor and sensory detail

Tying the Knot

The knot was already tied, in truth,
and not so much tied as woven--
no, not so much woven
as lastingly accumulated,
like the layers and layers of
deeply hued sediment
you see at the Grand Canyon,
interrupted by an occasional colorful,
cataclysmic event.  This was one:

We registered for glasses

and a total of one hundred and eight expensive new Polish-made glasses

arrived at our little house with its Ikea folding furniture & cat-tattered sofa.

Each box was greeted at the door by a toddler who knows how to

clink her sippy-cup and say “Cheers!”

They are indeed beautiful: fine, well-balanced

and perfectly clear, they chime when the ice goes in,

unlike the rustic, bubbled chunks we bought 
made from recycled Coke bottles.

It wasn’t a wedding; not exactly a “commitment ceremony” either,

since we’ve been together ten years and had the baby already.

We shouldn’t have registered at all, really, for a mere anniversary,

except we wanted glasses.

And now we have them: juices and coolers, highballs, flutes,

red wines, white wines, pilsners and cordials,

and all-purpose goblets. It wouldn’t be unfair to say

we do a lot of drinking.

We chipped three in the first week. Now we remind each other to carry

them carefully; when loading them into the dishwasher, they each get

a little more space. The ones with stems we wash by hand,

and of course we have to supervise the baby closely:

Taking bites out of glasses runs in the family. It takes time and attention,

keeping so many glasses in one piece.

The knot was already tied, in truth,
by transatlantic travel and
daily faxes when a rented fax machine
was cheaper than telephone,
by the acceptance and denial of
family, by wanders through Camden Market
and internationally resourced bed linens.
The knot was already tied
by complicated legal arrangements,
risky career moves and repeated packing
of cardboard boxes, by adventure chronicled
in memorable sunburns (intangible) and
small crockeries (tangible), but mostly by paper,
layers and layers of
brightly hued paper
lastingly accumulated into a rock-solid,
basement-scented granularity that
now we have to move.

There's been mining going on,
digging through, panning for gold,
sifting out the gems:
this sheep made of salt dough, this
giant silly cow from we don't even know
which carnival midway, this posterboard
calendar which held one new earring
for each of 42 days, not to mention
donor forms headed "Forklift Vegetarian"
and "Coffee Ice Cream Saint Bernard."
Heavy work indeed, lending new meaning
to the combination exquisitely + painful,
and no amount of cellphone camera data
relieves the ache of dragging so much
shared earth out to the curb.

The knot was already tied, in truth,
before the "real" wedding, before the mining
and ditching and rescuing began, and
sometime soon the crafting will begin. 
We got it all here, tied up in knots
of packing tape, and sometime soon
all those layers, topped off by a marriage
license from a place we don't call home,
will be hewn by hand into a monument
to our knot, perfect for that
interesting corner of the new parlor,
crowned by the silly cow.
May she be granted the right she is due.

~Heidi Mordhorst 2012

I'm glad to be back, friends.  The Poetry Friday roundup today is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids


  1. Hi, Heidi. So happy for you. Those 108 glasses speak to me. They say much about marriage -- how it contains us, can be fragile, is held in the caring hands of friends and family, as well as the couple.

  2. Oh, Heidi! Thank you for sharing your life through a poem. So full of love but not sentimentality. So full of very particular moments and THINGS. What a lovely journey to have gone on with you.

  3. You knock me on my ass, woman. (Can I say "ass" here?) xo

  4. So much truth in this poem, I don't even know where to begin...perhaps with the acknowledgement (after 31 years of partnership) that the know IS woven.

  5. This poem is so...MOVING!

    (sorry, but you set yourself up for that one!!!)

  6. Oh, Heidi, what a wonderful glimpse into your life! I wish you a life, from this point forward, with no chips or cracks.

  7. What Laura said. Also, your post title makes me laugh.

  8. Wow - thanks for sharing this, Heidi. I'm still swooning over that image of fragile glasses (and so many celebratory versions of them!) set against the "layers and layers of/deeply hued sediment/you see at the Grand Canyon..." A breathtaking, life-affirming poem. Cheers!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!