Jackie Craven

Federation Agents Ask Whether I’ve Ever Been Married

and I have, but only a little bit, so brief
it’s easy to dismiss,
like when you drop a blueberry and quickly snatch it up.
Such a silly slip up (blink and you’d miss it)
yet there’s my married name, a tumble of p‘s and w‘s
cascading from Deep Space Nine.
It was the price of anchovies
that messed us up, karaoke and pickleball,
the in-laws messed us up, testosterone
messed us up, wormholes, causality loops, and the war,
everywhere garden pests
and tesseracts, and why hold on
to a floppy wedding veil?
I gave the gown to a civic playhouse,
thought I’d moved on, but now investigators
from the Temporal Integrity Commission
demand a name I almost forgot, and that dress,
that ridiculous charmeuse dress,
steps center stage,
a walking shadow reciting Shakespeare—
What’s done cannot be undone
Oh my goodness, I’m wading barefoot in blueberries,
so small, so indelible.

Previously published in WHISH (Press 53) and Alaska Quarterly Review