Marriage is like a poem- it is concentrated- it is deep- while it is not often understood- it is always felt. Mostly that poem is set on a shelf while the business of life is attended to.
In our marriage, I knew this concentrated humanness…in the physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional. Ours was like a furnace…often uncomfortable, but doing the work- intimate- and very warm.
I remember still noticing for the first time the way you’d sometimes get a small white ball of saliva in the center of your top lip and then sometimes a string of saliva would hang from that lip to the bottom one as you spoke.
You tried to teach me how to spit and hack up my phlegm. I wasn’t very good at it. “No you’re doing it wrong- from the back of your throat.”
You taught me to rub the “deh”- dead skin off of my body with the pads of my fingers- you said it worked better than the Korean scrubbers made for that purpose and touted your own beautiful skin as evidence.
You held my right foot while I pushed our child out of my cervix after 25 hours of labor- “You’re doing it!” you said with a mixture of joy, exhaustion, and fear on your face, the long ponytail you promised me you’d chop off when we had our child, tied loosely behind your head.
One night, you drank an entire leftover 4 ounce bottle of my breast milk once just to see what all the fuss was about.
I loved taking communion with you. You’d take me aside in church and we’d do this ritual together- you’d pray softly. We shared the bread and the wine on our engagement day and on our wedding day.
We worshipped together. The first day we met, you sat at a piano and I next to you while we sang together quietly.
I watched you go under the water in the echoing sanctuary at Riverside Church in Manhattan for your baptism. Standing in the font, you held the small leather Bible I gave you while you read a verse before leaning back into that water.
We shared our creative work with one another often. “Can you help me write lyrics for this?” “Can you listen to this melody I wrote?”
We cried together during long into-the-night arguments. Watched one another cry.
We laughed together- during favorite sitcoms, when I tickled you for the number of seconds equal to the number of days you’d been away on tour.
And…I keep thinking, we were naked together, entirely vulnerable, entirely loved. I wish I could’ve pushed aside the context of our culture enough to comprehend the holiness of this sooner. For only here, the forgotten poem is