may 10, 1940

by Erin O’Malley

                              to have and to hold from this day forward
dawn breaks and somewhere a radio goes static
                 as wedding bells ring. the white noise of our cathedral
                              for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer
occupies us like a dreamsong while the rest of country listens
                 for the shock waves of a land mine.

                              in sickness and in health
we kiss and somewhere a bridge surrenders to a river at the touch
                 of a bomb. we dance and someone’s husband falls
                              to love and to cherish, till death us do part
from the sky. somewhere the air is a field on fire
                 and its land below is a burial ground
                              according to God’s holy law,
waiting for lilies. one day,
                 I will evacuate the desert and return
                              and this is my solemn vow
to everyone with flowers.
                 somewhere a radio goes static.