Issue 22/23
cover photo of Louise Brooks
publication date 12/17/1983

Perpetual Honeymoon

Amy Gerstler

Mother promised I wouldn’t feel homesick
this trip. She crossed her heart. But her
vows don’t matter anymore. My bridegroom
snores on the train. I want him to love
me always. The luggage rack rattles. His
head rocks side to side, looks lifeless,
but I won’t panic and wake him. I’ll think
about my wedding, those moments I remember:
guests’ hair sequined with confetti, my
sweet niece singing hymns, her eyebrows
plucked thin as italics. Then waltzing
couples cleared us a path. The ladies’
jewelry glittered like lights along a pier.
I entered the bridal suite on the stroke
of twelve, draped over my husband’s arm,
next to his light suit jacket. There were
foil wrapped chocolates on our pillows.
Not a soul heard me call out, felled by
his soft karate. The phrase "Flight from
Egypt" popped into my head while I focused
my eyes on the whitewashed ceiling. Perhaps
the pastor said it, or I opened the blue
book at bedside to the verse where exiled
Israelites begin forgetting their ancestors.
It’s a sad passage. Strange sights stuck
in my mind superimpose themselves over
rustic greenery blurring by: his dilated
eyes at night as he snips my panties with
nail scissors; and a photo of a drowned
girl, her limbs landed gracefully, as if
she’d planned it that way.