ELEGY BEFORE WEDDING
Your mom tells me the day I ask her
if I can marry you All her grandmother
wanted was to see Leila in a wedding dress.
So we are marrying in your home,
so your maman can be there,
so the sofreh—replete with baklava,
salt, rose water, pomegranate,
the two candelabras, a bowl of gold coins—
& your long dress can adorn
the sorrow, so the baleh & joyful
dancing will overlay the quiet of
your mother kneeling on the ground
next to her mother’s bed at her end.
The text a merciless
lightning Celeste’s been
in a car accident
& the world turns on
itself then calcifies
around my fingers
fissures up my arms
until I read
but she’s OK,
just shaken some
& the limestone
the world encased my fingers in
crumbles, giving gravel
to the gloried ground.
NICHOLAS REINER is a poet from Southern California. He holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of California, Irvine, where he completed an MFA in poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming at Zócalo Public Square, HEArt Online, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Ghost City Review, and Connotation Press. He lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife.