After the Wedding
-Rainier Maria Rilke
The war hero, father of the groom,
hovers by his youngest grandchild, who
is smiling incoherently,
beside the vase-sheathed daffodils.
Wet petals cling to the windshield
as the just-wed drive off into rain.
which may well be snow by this evening.
After the wedding,
our smiles don’t fade,
they just ache.
I drive home to the opera broadcast
which usually gives me a headache.
I do not enjoy it, yet settled satisfaction emerges from
this labyrinth of rusted notation, these summery plum-laden phrases, incarnate
in high-vaulting voices, bounding high over staff lines, from tower to tower
and down through the rattling old radio.
We know that it might not snow,
though all morning we expected aloud that it would.
Does the mere mention satisfy the bride?
Am I satisfied?
The static reaches in to have its say,
a winding crackle grasping at the passenger seat,
fumbling through canvas bags of safety pins,
bobby pins, cereal bars and fabric scraps—caressing , at last,
the slim vase of daffodils stuck in the vinyl cup holder.
I turn in toward home, blinker clicking.
Notice, with me, the vulture
high up in the oak tree,
shifting from bare branch to bare branch,
and the back bathroom window left open,
and the crowded, desperate daffodils
insistent in their joy.