The Object is the Thing. No, Literally.


Fifteen years ago, I wrote a poem to commemorate the wedding of two friends. I based it on the traditional Navajo wedding vase, and tried to use internal rhyme to give it movement, and to say All The Things I think about marriage, have witnessed quite a few over the years. The irony: the poem first appeared in To Love One Another, a book of poetry about marriage by an assortment of poets, of whom I am probably the only one who had never been married. I also read this a few years back at the wedding of another set of friends, which was a great compliment and honor. I feel like it has held up well over the years.

Now You Have Become One

Pitcher Pouring out Water from Two Sides

reflection on a Navajo wedding vase

for Andrew and Cathy

A difficult trick, requiring cooperation

and grace, like a three-legged race

where you hop and kick your way

to the finish line. Such a pitcher is full

of contradiction. No more can you

say of the water, “This is mine,” or

of the pitcher, “I.” Now you learn

to say “we,” take turns pouring out

on the dry ground around you—

for desert will always surround you,

awaiting clean water to awaken the green,

the flowering red and blue, from the baking,

cracked ground. Now you will practice

togetherness mopping floors and grouting

tile, opening doors in yourselves and leaving

them open, like the spouting lip of this

pitcher on each side. Now, man and bride,

woman and groom, you will cleave

like clay braided together, reaching around

to embrace. But first, you will need

to leave room in your day to pour out

over one another’s faces, to quench each

other’s thirst. And in your trade-off

for closeness, you must give up those

crabby mornings, easy freedoms, blithe

old habits. Sometimes you must give away

what you most treasure. You must give

water in due season. You must give to

each other, the world, in equal measures.

“Now You Have Become One Pitcher Pouring out Water from Two Sides” first appeared in To Love One Another, published by Grayson Books (Ginny Lowe Connors, ed.).

One comment on “The Object is the Thing. No, Literally.

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