You are holding up a ceiling with both arms. It is very heavy, but you must hold it up, or else it will fall down on you. Your arms are tired, terribly tired, and, as the day goes on, it feels as if either your arms or the ceiling will soon collapse. But then, unexpectedly, something wonderful happens: Someone, a man or a woman, walks into the room and holds their arms up to the ceiling beside you. So you finally get to take down your arms. You feel the relief of respite, the blood flowing back to your fingers and arms. And when your partner’s arms tire, you hold up your own to relieve him again. And it can go on like this for many years without the house falling.
“A Marriage” is from Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blumenthal. Copyright © 1987 by Michael Blumenthal. Used by permission of Pleasure Boat Studios: A Literary Press. First published by Viking/Penguin.