Chuppah

Fresh out of college,
I wanted a mother
like those of my friends—
unloading used dishes
and pots and pans
as she replaced
her own, arranging drop offs
of basement love seats,
from former family rooms
now converted for crafts
or work outs, perfect for
first-time apartments.
My mother gave money,
bought me new towels.
The things I yearned for
from my childhood home—
bedroom set, side chair,
the desk her father made by hand—
they were hers.
She would not share.

Her mother died
when she was twenty-three.
She, like me, wanted things
from her childhood home—
her mother’s sewing machine
and piano—but within a year
her father remarried, and
his new wife had dominion
over the household.
She wanted and retained
the objects my mother coveted.

As a young woman,
lovers gave or bought
me things to furnish
my home—a couch,
my first tape deck,
many wood bookshelves.
Their love replaced
what was lacking from mother.

Now in the home
my wife and I share,
I have everything
I once desired:
matching daily dishes,
a separate set for formal
entertaining, wine goblets,
flatware to serve twenty,
pottery serving platters,
formal coffee service,
and aperitif goblets.
She and I built a home
together, piece
by piece with love.

This is the reason
we do not get married
under a chuppah:
our home already had
been built. This is
why every day I thank God
I was born a woman.

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