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  • Rachel Welcher



Marriage vows talk wistfully of
"growing old together" by youngsters
eager for their honeymoon in St. Lucia.
They mean every word, they just haven’t
seen those words play out yet. It’s not
their fault. Marriage is an act of faith, a
leap of hope; a vow that makes promises
beyond what we could ever know for sure
in that white dress, with those shaking hands.
We are not omniscient.
That couple, sandaled and spray-tanned,
ought to gather all the shells they can find
on that white, sandy beach and make all the
love and all the mistakes in love on those
white hotel sheets. The growing old will
come soon enough. But the aches and pains
are only half the story. There is an intimacy,
a bond that builds up like stubble in the sink;
that softens everything, like fresh laundry,
and provides evidence of life lived, like coffee
grounds scattered on the kitchen floor.
The growing old is, perhaps, even better than the sex
and sand and sunburns of youth, because it is proof
that those perfumed vows, folded up somewhere in a
box of trinkets, safety pins, and old jewelry, has been
tested and found true.
Will you love me after I disappoint you?
Will I love you after you disappoint me?
Yes. And so much more, while I get the baby
her milk from the fridge, still half-asleep,
asking you for the hundredth time if you
had any good dreams last night. You say,
as always, that you don’t remember your dreams,
but I don’t believe you. Because this was a dream
you had once, and it came true. You smile,
and I put the coffee on and while you
take out the trash, like a love song.

Cover image by David Levêque.


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