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My Wedding Gown


My wedding gown floats lightly on a stream

of attic sweaters, books, and broken toys.

No flame of rapture in a young bride's dream,

but beauty and decay in equipoise.


The satin dress has changed from white to pearl;

the gauzy train is soiled from dancers' feet.

Flowery garlands wither and unfurl

in widening diagrams of bittersweet.


This is no pampered gown, neatly encased,

its stains removed and wrinkles ironed out;

this is a knight's dress armor, richly chased

with spirited designs to boast about.


Just like my marriage, tempered but untorn—

well-made, well-used, well-cherished, and well-worn.


Carolyn Raphael



From The Most Beautiful Room in the World : Poems by
Carolyn Raphael,
David Robert Books, © 2010.  First published
in Orbis.  Reprinted by permission of the author.


by Grapholina

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