Every trope of weather bells your dress.
Floorboards exhale breath once taken as trees,
air expands at the equator, the heat, your legs
solid and raising you, and I
with nosebloody words to the ceiling, I love you
I love you, I can’t see you like this.
The woman at the table two tables over
is planning her wedding. She says a name
then maid of honor—the honorable name
I recognize but cannot place;
the information, long thought to be useless,
hears its shape called for and tries to call back
from its vault. Where do you put a second
chandelier, you know, just to store it awhile?
Here is my heart—its second half
is studded with clock marks,
throats a menacing tick.
I stand at a summit;
does it matter the direction I step?
A wedding dress flipped upside down—fabric
fallen open like petals—showers ants.
Some cummerbunds are structural by design:
undone, and the metal spring can’t keep the torso upright,
the head plunges down, arcs toward the ankle.
Let us dress for ceremony and its scaffolding;
to have and to hold you up.
I have married so many times only to lose
the ring in pockets, handkerchiefs,
sleight of hand a nervous tic I perform
without thinking. Naturally, I suspect
conspiracy: my clothes fear consummation,
resent the idea of me shedding them.
Magicked the self across mirrors
leaning into other mirrors, saw my body
as interrupting, pulled taut by light.
For my next trick, I will saw myself
For my next trick, I will need an assistant.
The flower girl requests we act
as time and trample the beautiful.
The mute man who swept the petals up
in the vacant church in 1985
was stabbed to death in the course of duty,
the blood slung from muscle up to pooling mouth.
His assailant fell back in the shadows,
the red aisle darkened around the man’s ribs, shoulders.
It was the saddest thing ever to happen in the hemisphere
and no one would marry in that church
for a quarter-century. The trees wept bloody leaves,
the earth leaned ever so slightly away from the sun.
I walk down aisles and plumes
of purple smoke erupt, ambush me,
vex me, earrings and tie clips
gleaming among the dark whorls.
I stand at a summit
with all the chandeliers hanging from nowhere.
I pull chrysanthemums
from my throat, magician’s
scarves, all kinds of colors
all tied together
with the word yes.
I married the wrong twin
and it stuck, I pulled off my mask
and she pulled off her mask and it all
The little man in my chest
who pulls the gears saw his reflection
in her eyes. Shocked,
he fell from his perch and died—the floor
of the will is marble, the ceiling a rush
Do you take cream in your coffee? (I do.)
Do you have room in that hat for another head? (I do.)
Do you promise to mend all guitar strings, repaint
when the barn dulls and every half-century
fire off the silo like a rocket? (I do.)
Even as age slaps your twined knuckles? (I do.)
Here is my body, take.
Here is my throat of silver,
skin brushed with oregano, thyme.
I’ve come from a body
swollen of fruit, take
seed I am given that anchors
me down, deep, roots me,
gift the years, here
the counting, the telling,
the always and forever take.
Until death unlaces our grasps.
Until the bright scarves like flags shed from our cuffs.
Until we lie down at the chapel of Western roads
while the sun spools off behind the glass . . .
I am sunk to the ankles in cake,
I did not budget for the dry cleaning,
the wax of my joints to melt like this.
I am the rice dynamite hissing
from the dove’s gut, my flint tongue
saying, drink, quell this emb’ring throat.
I am lost to the patterns sewn
meticulously throughout my pockets.
Trapdoors, deeds to other tricks,
Do you give her your hand? (I do.)
And if all the light left were fallen in the ocean,
you would unmoor the rowboat and find it. (I do.)
You would feel for the boat’s edges in the dark.
BRANDON AMICO’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Slice, and Verse Daily, among other publications.