Last week, Atticus and I celebrated our 39th anniversary.
(Umm, we're as shocked as you are.
How can two people who are so incredibly young and vibrant
have been married for thirty-nine years? It's a mystery, I know.)
Happy anniversary, Atticus.
by Karen Edmisten
He was my first husband.
He is my now-husband,
my last husband, my only husband,
(in case you’re counting.)
Thirty-nine years and counting.
Not counting as in,
“I can’t wait for this to be over,”
but counting as in,
I didn’t know I could count this high
in the category “Years married.”
I’m astonished and delighted by us.
We should win something on Jeopardy:
“Alex, what is, Tom and Karen defied the odds and lasted?"
(Now we have been married so long
that Alex is gone.)
We married young and discovered
what it means to weld one’s self to another.
It’s a tricky process, this welding.
Rife with flame and light and danger
but with a distant goal in sight:
a finished form, something sturdy and strong,
a thing to behold.
We have loved each other, hurt each other,
lost each other, and found each other.
We have died and risen again.
We are each a Phoenix
who learned to rise from ashes,
discovering — this man and I —
that ashes are the stuff of life
and that new beginnings
can be shining, iridescent things,
unexpected fuel that will carry us
on another orbit around the earth.
Life never stops beginning.
Oh, yes, surely, it’s ending
every moment it’s beginning
and it’s beginning
with each ending.
This is the beauty of the Phoenix, yes?
It keeps rising, flaming,
swirling, changing, starting again.
It is immortal, like our marriage,
this thing that began as
an amateur piece of welding.
We are a fusion that is somehow now
aged and lovely in its flaws,
sturdy as steel
and gleaming like precious metal that is
well-worn and well-loved.