Sherre Vernon

White Wedding, November Rain & Other Songs for A Wedding Playlist

in the desert & the woman                                                             [my grandmother]
who was supposed to make the flowers
thought she’d wait until the market opened                                [forgot]
& flowers were fresh. & sure—
but they almost didn’t happen & I told her no
roses & she bought roses. I said wildflowers
& everyone was angry, but I know what grows
in gravel lots. I know what grows
when you’ve tried to burn it out & starve it & can’t
bother to tend to it. It’s what I put on the invitations
that were sent & that were too expensive
to take back. So someone had to do something—                       [to get flowers].

We were stuffing picnic baskets in the kitchen
with Easter cellophane. I can plan an event &                               [everyone said]
so. Girls from college drove out for that summer
evening wedding. Even the boy who loved me & who
got my friend pregnant. But not my heart’s love—                       [the one]
—who was supposed to stand up & interrupt.
He kept his distance. Somewhere between wine &                      [blue]
cellophane my mother stopped speaking to me. We’d reserved
the park, thrown up tiki lights leading to the cement
stage. I remember now it was the preacher
from the corner Baptist did the service. I’d pixied my hair
some days before & my collarbones jumped
from the home-sewn satin like they’d been drinking
all night on the ledge. Like maybe this was a                                [Poison]

song after all. One that more than one
apocalypse show has Bret Michaels crooning out
on an acoustic guitar under lamplight. My maid of honor
the girl next door, the girl I’d known & loved —                            [my whole life]
—didn’t make it. Her sister stood in. I got a photo of me
holding back all the groomsmen with a bottle of whiskey,
the way we all believe in our bodies & loves
when we are 23. But I lost it & it’s been a while. The one
that I can find has the kid I tried on in a tux,
holding my hands, holding a bouquet, the way he will
at the hospital after we’re divorced & someone we love            [is dying]
is gone. What I meant to say was that it rained
my whole life. It rained my whole life that day.