First I married the breakfast cereal in its small cardboard chapel, wax-coated, into which I poured milk. Then I married a cigarette, for the gauzy way the air hung around us when we were together, then a stone, because I thought he was a brick or a block, something I could use to build a home. There was a bird, but flying away repeatedly is grounds for divorce. The shrub was a lost cause from the get-go and the TV gave me marital-tension headaches. The kidney was dull, the liver was slick, the car was exhausting, the monster in the woodshed scared the children (though I found his stink enticing). The teacup was all filling and emptying, emptying and filling. When I married the squirrel the wedding was woodland, the guests scampered, but all that foraging and rustling of sticks and leaves was too much. And the males sleep balled together in another tree all winter! How foolish, my marrying the truck, the shovel, the hair, the hope, the broom, the mail—oh, waiting and waiting for the mail to come! Marrying the cat was funny at first, and I luxuriated in his fur, until I heard his mating yowl, until the claws and the teeth, the penile spines, dear God. Forget the spider, the mask, the brittle bone. And then a slim-hipped quiet confidence leaned against the wall of the Lamplighter Lounge, chalking a pool cue, and I said, Lordy, this is for real. He ran the table, and I fanned myself with a coaster—this was going to last! I called home and divorced a plate of meatloaf. Confidence gave me a good couple of months. I learned aloof and not eating in public, but it did not last. He wasn’t from the Midwest, and besides, tied to a barstool across the room, some drunk’s seeing-eye dog was starting to chew the fishnet stockings off a lady’s artificial leg.
10.5 / September & October 2015