Academic journal article The Hudson Review

To Hold from This Day Forward

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

To Hold from This Day Forward

Article excerpt

In our best clothes, we assemble

to solemnize this union

Several guests in turn address the gathering

The voices of a few speakers

are interrupted by silence for a breath or longer

due to incipient tears

even though such talkers also recount

various humorous antics of the bride or groom

All in attendance are relatives or friends

of only one half of this couple

No one here has any association

with the groom's or the bride's spouse

So whoever speaks today

during the ceremony or reception

tells no anecdotes about the spouse

Nobody really knows the spouse

-only what the spouse does

That the latter is a bigamist

is understood, but never mentioned

since we are aware that at some point

the spouse's name will be linked to ours

As with any wedding, there is an individual

-or more than one-devastated

because his or her hopes

for a future intimacy with the bride or groom

are shattered by this occasion

Such a man or woman, inconsolable at the moment

may or may not be in the hall

Indeed, neither of the nuptial couple is with us

Music performed at the ceremony, however,

whether a contemporary, religious

or classical composition

constitutes selections the organizers of the event

believe the groom or bride would want played

That the spouse is not drawn to music

is recognized by those who compiled the program

Nor has the spouse

or the other matrimonial partner

identified a desired present to honor their union

The family of the bride or groom

may publish details of a gift registry

based on their relative's experiences

yet no information is forthcoming

from the spouse's side

Many guests

simply send flowers

[Author Affiliation]

TOM WAYMAN's most recent collection of short stories, The Shadows We Mistake for Love (Douglas & McIntyre, 2015), won the inaugural Western Canada Jewish Book Award for fiction. …

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