Epithalamium Ending in Divorce
You were bothered, I could tell, through the pomp,
the vows, their kiss’ soft applause. At the late reception
of fairy lights in mason jars, you were a strobe of looks
and looked at while you tongued the open bar dry.
I held you up in the melody because you were mine
the way the country in you was mine. Two crooks
hung around my shoulders in the sway. An affection,
I could see, the way you let me see the wells grow damp.
Janine Joseph reads “Epithalamium Ending in Divorce”
Janine Joseph is a poet and librettist from the Philippines. She is the author of Driving Without a License (2016), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, and Decade of the Brain (2023), both from Alice James Books. Her commissioned works for the Houston Grand Opera/HGOco and Washington Master Chorale include The Art of Our Healers, What Wings They Were, “On This Muddy Water”: Voices from the Houston Ship Channel, and From My Mother’s Mother. A co-organizer for Undocupoets and MacDowell Fellow, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oklahoma State University.