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To my husband.

At that wedding service, outdoors, the bridesmaids, dresses midnight-eggplant, grosgrain satin shot with glints of maroon like pheasant harvested, painted, and eaten, the minister read Paul's Letter to the Corinthians, describing you. After the service your high-school sweetheart talked about you, your steadfastness, your kindness. She met you a month after your mother had died on a distant island, and every Friday and Saturday night you went dancing, the only teenagers on some wooden floor in some club, holding each other, turning, 1958, 1959 ... Then I understood, if it had been half a generation later you would have been lovers, you would have married and been happy. Not as happy as we have been, but happy. And I would be dead by now, dead long since. My life has been based on your goodness--I do not think two such, for me, come along in a lifetime. I would not have married, or I'd have married badly, never had these children or written these words. I'd have died on West 12th Street, that time, making a bomb--badly--they would have identified me by my little finger, my mother sitting in the precinct, holding my cocked pinky.
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Author:Olds, Sharon
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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