Poetry Month – April 10, 2024 – On The Altar










It was a Vineyard wedding
In September
The wind had flipped out of the north
The ocean turned navy blue
Still, we all traipsed down to the beach
To tan our goosebumps
And become weekend best mates.
She wrapped herself in a blanket
propped her head on terry cloth towels
Opened her hardcover book and read
She rarely talked
Or took off her glasses
The whole weekend
She might have been a spy
or a distant cousin
or a former girlfriend
Every story that weekend was hers
The bride and groom divorced six months later.

There was something about her. Why else would I have taken her picture, printed it and carried it around with me for decades? Yes, decades. Back then, I cared very much what people thought of me. I wanted to be the book everyone was reading. (Cringe) Not her. Inscrutable. Self-possessed. Her very own person. I think I learned her name. We may have even talked. I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter. I think what mattered was glimpsing a different self.