cynics at a wedding, by oormila vijayakrishnan prahlad

third time’s a charm for our friends
and on this summer afternoon
we watch as they read
lines to each other about perennial love
from lilac tinted postcards
their index fingers entwined
in curling hearts
beneath the flowery arch
of carnations and primroses.

it’s yet another shot at love
and their middle aged faces are lucent
the white of her gown glistening
like a blanket of seagulls
against the obsidian of his tuxedo
and all the guests are cheering
wiping sunny tears.

I have my darkest sunshades on –
the ones I reserve for weddings alone
and I tissue away
slushy mascara
cumulative cynicism of the years
getting the better of me
and despairing at their optimism
I rail within the shell of my brain
against all
who despite the terrible odds
choose to repeat
the walk down the aisle.

filled with a sudden wave of shame
at the dishonourable nature of my thoughts
I glance at you
as you wilt beside me
in the glaring blue of the midday sky
and you reach out and take my hand
snuffing my moment of blackness
scattering its uncharitable ashes
in the sprawling mesh
of the Barossa vineyards.

but I haven’t missed the flicker
darting in your bloodshot eyes
the fleeting speck of skepticism
that dogs you too –
your tears, they have no camouflage
you know – by now I can read
the true shape of all your reveries
on the screen of your translucent face
just that I have sunshades on
but your eyes, they are unfiltered
so naked to the world.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney poet, artist, and improv pianist. She holds a Masters in English and is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project, and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in several literary journals in Canada, Australia, India, the US, and the UK.

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