Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dancing to the Handsome Family

We're at a wedding south of Santa Fe.
We're drinking champagne and a man
asks the father of the groom if we're
to thank him for the dinner last night.
No, he says. That would be Bob and Barb.
This, he says, leaning his champagne
glass over a little, is me.
The wedding band is the Handsome Family.
A husband and wife who live in Albuquerque.
Let me tell you friends, I am much
in love with Brett and Rennie Sparks.
Who else would sing of tuberculosis,
warm and/or frozen beer, the death
of passenger pigeons, alcoholism,
the murder of a giant and wild dogs
leaping over abandoned tires, who
else would sing these beautifully
macabre songs at a wedding? The bride
wore a dress that had ribbons at
the shoulders, and those ribbons
blew over and touched the arms of the groom.
They were married under huge cottonwood
trees and we danced on the lawn as the
sky grew dark and the outdoor swimming
pool glowed its emerald waver, we danced
to those slow songs and when the encore was
done a woman asked me to help with
her dress. She wanted it undone. As I
undid the knot she slipped off her shoes
and hurled herself into the pool. So I followed
her in, still wearing my white shirt.
And soon we were all in the pool and
the groom floated amongst us holding
a white napkin to his nose, for someone
had broken his nose during the diving in.


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