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February 2014 Issue [Readings]

We’re Going to Get Married

By Jeff Dolven, from a collection in progress. Dolven is the author of Speculative Music, published last year by Sarabande.

We’re going to get married, married, she said,
going to get married, me and my sister,
and I don’t care what it looks like, she said.

A sister like mine is harder to find
than a needle lost in the high cactus-desert,
than a hay-colored camel lost in the haystacks.

We mustn’t let go! We’re going to be richer
together than any old rich man, and truer,
true to each other, and damn the beholder:

he gets the needle, right in the eye,
and then she and I will be left free to wander,
wander right through the eye of the needle

ring-fingers first: we’ll meet in the middle,
and there we can linger, sister and sister,
properly married, not lying together

like camel and camel, like nickel and quarter,
like hayfield and haystack and hay-harvest weather,
like mistress and master, beheld and beholder

and the eye that’s so ready to put them together.
What have they ever promised each other?
It just isn’t right: we can do better.

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