Wedding Poem (Epithalamium)

Like the hair she has waited all day to let down,
a shadow unfurls from the Ponderosa’s trunk: a plank
one might walk to horizon’s edge, the dark band
just stops.
And out there,
a fractured school of minnows
veering all at once, swifts belly-up and disappear
in dune grass.
Like doubloons, gills, like rusted keys,
or the first glimpse of shore, comparisons
fail: She’s a splinter in the general noon;
a stalled grain on which he stands, he is in no way

And still the branches sway like a chorus
of believers: arms urging the moored ship off,
years-later waves washing them into the salt
of what was there.

Chris Dombrowski is the author of the memoir Body of Water (Milkweed Editions), a Bloomberg News Best Book of 2016, as well as three full length collections of poetry, most recently Ragged Anthem (WSUP, 2019). His poems have appeared in over a hundred anthologies and journals including Guernica, Gulf Coast, Orion, Poetry,, and The Southern Review. For the better part of two decades, he has taught creative writing to a vast array of age groups, most recently as the William Kittredge Visiting Writer-in-Residence in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana. He lives in Missoula, where he guides the rivers, directs the Beargrass Writing Workshops, and makes his home with his loveably feral family.