The Wedding Photo
My mother, in her clean white
dress is a psychology participant
trapped inside a double-mirrored
room, not quite sure how to play
the part. In a few moments,
Dr. Stanley Milgram will emerge,
asking if she will mind being "teacher"
and comment on the stillness of her
Cleveland, Ohio eyes—eyes
that taste like chocolate.
She is twenty-four, and Stanley
will be smitten by the way she grits
her small teeth. If you look closely,
you can see my father, rosy
in his brown tux, he has shrunk himself
to the size of a strawberry seed, so that
he may drunkenly snore inside
that one pore, where nostril fastens
to cheek. My mother is getting nervous
and her eyes plead, ¿Galleta, Maria, galleta?
I am sitting inside a loop of paisley
embroidered on the parlor chair.
If I sneeze, she may hear me,
and then I will never be born. The light fixture
dial of iniquity is laughing coquettishly
in the corner, and my mother winces that
the dial has had too much to drink.
Dr. Milgram has left the scene, bored by
my mother's Venezuela, Kansas farm girl
manners. But Robert Lowell, just discovering
my father, examines him through a monocle.
Lowell calmly states that my mother's
marriage to this man will be the unraveling
of his brand-new Macy's orange towel. I wonder
if Lowell can see into the future, or was it just
a lucky guess, that I'd be born without a