Source: Everything We Always Knew Was True(Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
On starless, windless nights like this
I can hear the wedding dresses
Weeping in their closets,
Luminescent with hopeless longing,
Like hollow angels.
They know they will never be worn again.
Who wants them now,
After their one heroic day in the limelight?
Yet they glow with desire
In the darkness of closets.
A few lucky wedding dresses
Get worn by daughters—just once more,
Then back to the closet.
Most turn yellow over time,
Yellow from praying
For the moths to come
And carry them into the sky.
Where is your mother’s wedding dress,
Where is your grandmother’s wedding dress?
Eventually they all disappear,
Who knows where.
Imagine a dump with a wedding dress on it.
I saw one wedding dress, hopeful at Goodwill.
But what sad story brought it there,
And what sad story will take it away?
Somewhere a closet is waiting for it.
The luckiest wedding dresses
Are those of wives
Betrayed by their husbands
A week after the wedding.
They are flung outside the double-wide,
Or the condo in Telluride,
And doused with gasoline.
They ride the candolescent flames,
Just smoke now,
Into a sky fall of congratulations.
James Galvin, “On the Sadness of Wedding Dresses” from Everything We Always Knew Was True. Copyright © 2016 by James Galvin. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, http://bit.ly/2iMe3eQ.