Before God and everyone
perhaps from nerves, perhaps from hunger,
the bride’s stomach grumbled and she found
herself wondering about the food.
She began thinking about flour
and the hours of tiers and sugar and cake.
In the kitchen, long ago, her mother had shown
her how eggs yoke the ingredients; how everything
fluffy is bonded together no matter how light
the batter seems. She thought of the sugary sweetness
on her tongue, her love for him when the day
was done, how all the best things come at the end
of waiting, at a degree which seems too hot not to burn,
too hot to make a bit of heaven in a pan.
Turning his head, the groom watched
as she stared forward and he knew he loved her, forever,
even at a distance. He leaned over to hold her hand.
It was warm and he could have sworn, the scent
of vanilla came from her gown. He kissed her palm.
She looked in his eyes, deep down,
and thought how this was good: this sifting of sugar,
this adding of salt, this whipping of butter, this building
of layers out of fire, this love dressed in rose and icing,
this moment of exchange, her bite for his, his glass
at her lips, this being held aloft, standing strong,
in a world as insubstantial as sponge cake. This was
the moment of I do, I do, of feeding on angelfood.
This was their leap of faith, this was their
fall into grace, this was their perfect communion.
Christine Butterworth-McDermott is an associate professor of English at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she teaches creative writing, fairy tales, and act as the poetry editor of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, a national literary magazine. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Bellowing Ark, Borderlands, California Quarterly, Fourth River, Gulf Stream, Hiram Poetry Review, Medulla Review, North Atlantic Review, The Potomac, RATTLE, Slipstream, Sliver of Stone and Weave. Select poems have been nominated for a Rhysling Award (published in the 2005 anthology by Prime Books) and have received Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (17th and 18th Annual Editions). Her chapbook, Tales on Tales: Sestinas, was published by Finishing Line Press (2010). Her first full-length collection, Woods & Water, Wolves & Women, has just been published by her university press.
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