Rewinding the Wedding Tape

Patti See

The seventh anniversary gift is wool.
I taste it after our wedding tape tradition
when I stay to rewind alone.
Everyone dances off the altar
and I can’t hear the man and wife
the priest says that in marriage
a schoolboy and waitress become.

In reverse every notion of ceremony
is a motion away, an easy glimpse
of undoing as they return
their rings to the bearer,
the groom’s lips un-vowing
the reverted bride’s left idle.
They hobble up the aisle.

Walking backwards no one can bear
to lead, her trousseau becomes
an untied knot of satin and lace
the eight foot veil is more a waiting
shroud ungathered like this by attendants.
Chaplin in borrowed shoes, the groom
steps back to rescind his bride.

There’s me as I remember me
unhanded by a snare of roses
just for a moment at this inverted
beginning, my new end,
wedged between parents and two exits
given back to myself.

Patti See is a frequent contributor to Wisconsin Life and Volume One.