Bujold

by Annie Freud

She marries him in a ‘marriage blanc’
so that he can stay in the country.
He is a fugitive whose visa has run out
and there is every kind of impediment:

the ambitious local cop in dark glasses
and leather jacket, determined to hound them,
the provocative younger sister, the absurd mother
giving a huge white wedding nobody wants.

An explosion of debauchery, revelry and waste
saw the church lose its hold on the medieval world,
she tells her class of docile undergraduates,
and feels the need for a full-time man.

At forty, she is ravishing in a haggard way
and he looks seedy with his too-long hair.
There are some good jokes about lonely, frightened
people trapped in forced proximity.

I know this place is a mess, but don’t touch anything.
I know where everything is. The cafetière is complicated.
Love prevails in the end. We never see them
in bed and they only ever kiss at the wedding.