This week’s poem from Slate is entitled If Marriage Is a Duel at 10 Paces and has been written by the poet Traci Brimhall. Do you have a spare moment in your day? Yes, I know, it’s hard to find a spare moment even to feed yourself with all the work you have to do. But if you’d like a moment to relax and reflect on some poetry, be sure to stop by the Slate website to hear Traci Brimhall read her poem. Listening to poetry as read by its author is a great way to connect with those powerful words. I’d definitely recommend it!
Traci Brimhall, according to her website, has released two collections of poetry, Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012) and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications such as New England Review, Ploughshares, and Southern Review. Her work has also been featured on PBS Newshour, and Best American Poetry 2013. Currently, she teaches creative writing at Western Michigan University and is the Editor in Chief for Third Coast.
If Marriage Is a Duel at 10 Paces, by Traci Brimhall
Let’s count our steps with endearments. Honey. My love.
Let’s mix our gunpowder with rouge and foxglove seeds.
If marriage is a war for independence, I’ll find a feather
for my cap and shoot you from your horse. Darling.
If it’s a hunt, salt and cure me. If it’s a plague for two,
my dear, let’s quarantine ourselves in the cemetery wearing
aprons and snakeskin belts. Let’s disfigure each other
with praise. My beautiful. My fugitive. If monogamy
is a stakeout, Sweetheart, let’s spy on the beekeeper
who lactates honey. I’ll pull stingers from your chest
if you’ll clean the blood from under my nails. If romance
is a ballad, we are its authors and its victims and finished
in four minutes. Beloved, if your desire is the passage
you underlined in Song of Songs after our first kiss
and erased on our honeymoon, then dark am I, yet lovely.
Then you, my shepherd, my charioteer, turn and shoot.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Poem from Slate! Surf the archives for some more phenomenal poetry.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan