What It Was about that First Marriage

The floors were fine. Gorgeous,

in fact. Blonde as sunshine, clean,

polished, alive with the kind of promise

we had dreamed. But oh those two

mismatched wooden tables. Same height

so we kept trying to line them up

as if they were a unit. One was maple,

right out of somebody’s 1950s Nebraska kitchen,

with a scalloped leaf that folded down,

though it was years before we could see it

for what it was. The other, streamlined,

sleek. Once we tried pushing them together

and covering with a patterned cloth,

though dinner guests banged their knees

on that leaf. When I look back,

I’m amazed we didn’t toss that piece, haul it

to the curb. But, no, we struggled

for years to make it work, painting

and painting it again, even turning it sideways.

Dannye Romine Powell