Bride and Groom Walking Away

The Statue

by
Stephanie Powell

Some weeks before we marry-

(in a cold protest of May)

I bend down like a heron

in the cul-de-sac

and find it by a fence.

 

The porcelain and blue couple,

ill-matched-

the bride is missing her head-

but in perfect condition

(from the neck down).

 

No cracks in the cast, her skirt-pleats

like razors, cut across her knees-

The groom has the most feminine face,

half-blown red lips-

a delicate bubble of a smile.

 

He is erect, intact-

clutching a chicken to his breast.

Cursed, you say and refuse

to have it in the house-

what can you want with a bride with no head?

 

I ask what do you care about bad omens, my love?

In the end it sits on the windowsill

just to the right

of the rangehood,

where you can tolerate it-

 

hidden by the houseplants.

The week before we marry-

(our wedding date set

and nothing to do but wait)

the rain spikes the roads of south London,

 

our neighbour dies and the council break

down her front door.

The house is emptied bit-by-bit in black binbags.

The bathtub leaks and the tap

needs replacing.

 

The rain stops the day we marry-

though it is cool and

overcast. We walk back

along the A road.

A bus driver sounds his horn

 

as the wind blows my hat

from my head.

At home we pour ourselves a drink-

I cut lemons like

a guillotine. The couple

 

sitting pretty 

on their ledge. The

grooms’ doll-ish face,

the broken space at

the joint where the bride’s head is missing-

 

the gap between that and the ceiling.

We wait to find out

what will be of our marriage-

(what tragedy, what happiness,

what shape).

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Stephanie Powell lives in London. She grew up in Australia. She writes from her attic at home and takes photos sometimes. Her new collection ‘Bone’ will be published by Halas Press in July 2021.